If further prove was required of Stefan Johansen’s importance to Celtic, it arrived with the SPFL’s Player of the Month award for February.
The Norwegian has arguably become a lynch pin of the Celtic side in recent months after a sketchy start to his Parkhead career after joining from Stromsgodset in January 2014.
His reunion with his former Stromsgodset coach Ronny Deila last summer was vital and Johansen is now the embodiment of the style his fellow Norwegian has implemented since taking charge of the Scottish champions.
Versatile in terms of his central midfield position, Johansen has shown himself to be most effective when he is playing with a more attack-minded approach. He helps to lead from the front in pressing the other team and putting opponents under pressure on the ball.
The 24-year-old has also now added goals to his armoury after being slow to make a consistent contribution. He scored three times in 17 appearances last season and managed just five this term before the start of February.
However, a purple patch of five goals in nine games, including the decisive strike at St Johnstone, has not only secured the Player of the Month accolade, but exemplified the growing threat he carries for Celtic.
Regarded as having a suspect attitude during his teenage years as a footballer, Johansen is now setting the example of how hard work can pay off. He is not one to shirk a tackle after picking up nine yellow cards this season and only Virgil van Dijk has started more games for Celtic.
Given Johansen’s high-energy, intense way of playing, it is a testament to his stamina, and all-round ability, that he is improving as the season wears on when you may expect to see signs of tiredness.
If Celtic are to win the Treble this season, and tips on if they will can be found at bluesq.com, then Johansen will likely play a crucial role in that and being recognised for his contribution is likely to give him an extra lift for the final two months of the campaign.