'We are ready' Celtic star speaks ahead of Lionel Messi test on international stage

A Celtic star is set to square off with Lionel Messi on the international stage soon - here's what he had to say.

The Copa America is due to kick off on June 20 - and Celtic star Alistair Johnston is set to come face-to-face with the legendary Lionel Messi when Canada take on Argentina in one of the first games of the competition.

In a tongue-in-cheek comment, Johnston said he hopes Messi 'stays on the other side of the pitch' when they play each other. He showed the utmost respect for the Barcelona legend - indicating that he is mentally prepared for anything he may throw at him.

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Johnston has been a mainstay in Celtic's starting XI in the Scottish Premiership this season - he has 26 league appearances thus far, scoring a single goal and racking up two assists.

Speaking to Goal, Johnston said: "It’s exciting to have qualified and in the first match we’ve got Argentina which will be good. I hope Messi stays on the other side of the pitch! Even though it’s in America it will be 99% full with Messi jerseys so that’ll be fun but we’re kind of used to that now with the national team over there.

"It is the opening game, the opening ceremony, so I think they are expecting Messi to put on a show which is why they have put it on as the first one. So, yeah, it is my job as a defender to hopefully quieten that down but we are ready for the 80,000 screaming his name. I have seen in the MLS how mental it is over there and I think it will be no different in Atlanta.

"I’ve never played against him before but I have a couple of friends who have and they say he is a joy. He looks like he is just walking about so you just turn your head for one second. You lose the ball and turn your head back and he is gone! But that whole Argentinian team is extremely talented – you don’t win a World Cup with just one player."

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