The terms 'educated' and 'wand' to describe his left foot were invented for a player like Steve Guppy.

Guppy revealed that he once passed his secrets of the football trade on to Celtic right-back Alistair Johnston. The former Leicester and England international worked with Johnston for a year at Nashville SC in the MLS and posted umpteen video clips of what makes a player a good crosser of the ball. Nashville SC coach Guppy admitted that he convinced Johnston to use his crossing technique as a potent attacking 'weapon' just as he did if he wanted to advance his career to the highest level. The 54-year-old has watched with interest as Johnston landed the domestic treble within months of arriving in Glasgow.

Guppy is proud that his pupil has taken all the advice on board as Johnston has developed his crossing skills and made it part of his attacking arsenal for Celtic. Johnston has contributed two assists in recent weeks for Adam Idah in the 3-1 win over Motherwell at Fir Park and again during the 7-1 destruction of Dundee at Celtic Park. He has notched just one goal this season but was denied a screamer last weekend in the 3-1 win over St Johnstone after James Forrest and Idah had both strayed offside in the initial build-up to the move that led to Johnston lashing high into the net.

Guppy - who spent three years in Glasgow under Martin O'Neill from 2001 to 2004 - reckons he can see similarities in Johnston's game with Liverpool's marauding full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.  He readily admits that he couldn't teach Johnston much in the art of how to defend he is delighted that the endless video sessions on his crossing ability are finally paying off in Paradise.

READ MORE: How Celtic DEMOLISHED Dundee due to Johnston and lethalness

He said: "I spoke to Alistair and his dad when Celtic came calling for his services. I congratulated him and I told him he would have a great time at Celtic.

"We only spent a short time together in Nashville but the thing with Alistair was that when he was coming through he was very good at defending and that was his star quality. He has brought that with him to Celtic as well as the fact that he has played in big games and gained great experience. I was more interested in trying to help him develop a weapon in terms of his crossing because that's what every modern-day full-back needs. Full-backs now specialise in arriving late and causing chaos in the opposition box. Basically, full-backs are inverted wingers nowadays. Thank goodness that wasn't around when I played football!

"I looked at helping Alistair with his one-versus-one work as it became apparent that he wasn't very good at it. That wasn't going to be his thing. I am sure he can knock a ball past and beat a player when he is on his game but predominantly that was not his thing. The next thing we looked at was his crossing and Alistair really took to that. When you look at a full-back who is capable of creating a result from the wide area then that is interesting.

"I was always trying to sell the idea to him that it was those kinds of qualities that could take him to the next level in football. I have loads and loads of videos on my phone of how we broke down the crossing process for him and helped him with that. As an ex-winger crossing was something very dear to my heart. It is a frustration when you watch full-backs and wingers cross the ball and it hits the first defender. That is across the board at any standard of football - EPL, MLS, Scottish Premiership - it happens too much and it just basically down to a flaw in the technique. That was something we tried to help Alistair with at Nashiville and fair play to him he was always out before training and after training practising crossing the ball.

"What I liked about Alistair was his style and technique of crossing the ball was reminiscent of Trent Alexander-Arnold's at Liverpool. Alexander-Arnold is a tremendous crosser of the ball and that's why I got excited about Alistair when I saw him play for Celtic. I have watched Alistair with Celtic and he is also good at the lofted channel ball. It is a dying art because it is a pass but it is sometimes wrongly labelled by British coaches as the long ball but there is a subtle difference. It is a pass and it is very effective and I am glad to see and hear that Alistair is using that to good effect. He has some great coaches at Celtic and they will be helping him a great deal with these aspects of his game.

"With players like Alistair, if you offer up ideas you just want them to meet you halfway. That leads to progression and that is how it was with Alistair. I left the art of defending up to other people as I was only interested in helping Alistair with his crossing and technique in terms of ball placement and the number of issues that players struggle with sometimes.

"Full-backs are auxiliary wingers now and it is really important to have a weapon of sorts. I drummed that into Alistair from day one when I had him as a coach at Nashville. During the COVID season, Alistair would regularly send me videos of the work he was doing on his crossing in public parks and I encouraged him to send me those daily updates.

"Most of Alistair's videos had to do with crossing and it was a pleasure to break down the process for him and to work with someone so dedicated to improving that aspect of his game. Celtic are now reaping the benefit of those sessions and long may it continue."

Celtic Way:

Guppy insists that he harboured high hopes for his protege when he upped sticks and quit the MLS for the Scottish Premiership. Johnston had the raw ingredients but he grabbed his first team opportunity with both hands at Nashville when Honduran international full-back Brayan Beckeles failed to cut the mustard and make the grade stateside. However Guppy credits Johnston's meteoric rise to prominence to the fact that he was also part of the Canadian national team's 'Golden Generation' who participated in the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

Guppy said: "You always need a bit of luck in this game and you make your own luck of course but when Alistair was initially drafted into the Nashville first team, we had a right-back on our books who was a very experienced player in Honduras by the name of Brayan Beckeles.

"He turned up for pre-season a little bit unfit and he struggled with the intensity of the game in the MLS. That left the door open for a young college kid we signed called Alistair. He probably got his chance in Nashville's first team quicker than we would have liked and that is the truth of it. He took to it in no time just like he did at Celtic.

"Every Canadian plays ice hockey and it was no surprise to me to see that he was a robust defender at Celtic. The one thing that stood out to us about Alistair was his position sense and his ability to smell danger. When a ball is crossed into the box he doesn't ball watch as he is very aware of his surroundings and he has always been like that. He was like that when he came out of college and that was so impressive for such a young player. He soon became a fixture in our first team when he probably wasn't supposed to in that first season. Someone else's misfortune was his fortune and Alistair grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He read the game defensively so well for one so young.

"It's brilliant that Alistair has done so well at Celtic. You never know how they will fare until they are around that kind of environment at a club like Celtic. When you play with a better calibre of player like you do at a club like Celtic then some players will struggle and others like Alistair will hit the ground running and he has done that in Glasgow. What has helped his development is that he has been involved in an excellent Canadian national team. That put Alistair firmly on the football/soccer map in the first place with regards to Celtic. The process of playing in the World Cup in Qatar for Canada will have been beneficial to him at Celtic. He still has to go out there and get it done but it has been extremely enjoyable watching his development and progress from afar.

"I have experienced a lot of what Alistair has gone through having played for Celtic. I know all about the great occasions and the challenges at both the club and European levels. He will have enjoyed the derbies with Rangers and winning trophies. He was at Celtic for a matter of months and he had won the Treble. I never did that! Although I was very fortunate to be involved with a very strong Celtic team back in the day under Martin O'Neill. You never know how it is going to go when they make that step up to a team like Celtic but Alistair was always a good solid player for Nashville.

"His time with the Canadian national team showed he could cope with playing for Celtic. Canada is enjoying a golden era at the international level, and Alistair is a big part of that. A lot of what is happening to him now is down to Canada's success at international level."

Celtic Way:

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Guppy keeps regular tabs on Johnston to see how he is faring at Celtic and he joked that he now has another Canadian project he is working on whom he believes can go all the way. He is hopeful that lightning strikes twice in the shape of  Jacob Shaffelberg who like Johnston is reaping the rewards of Guppy's infinite football knowledge, wisdom and video sessions.

Guppy said: "The last time I reached out to Alistair was when I was working with a Canadian called Jacob Shaffelberg and I was teaching him the same things at Nashville SC. Jacob is a very, very exciting prospect, trust me on that.

"I was videoing Jacob just like I did with Alistair and I sent it to him and joked that I had another Canadian in my ranks. Hopefully, history can repeat itself with Jacob as it did with Alistair."

Guppy possessed a wand of a left foot and was as educated as they come. Johnston is a testament to what you can learn at the talented feet of someone like Guppy.