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20 July 2008

Brian Johnston

Name: Brian Johnston
Born: c.1957
Height: 5.11 ft
Weight: 11.00 st
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Under-21 Cap (1978).
Club Honours: (with Cliftonville) Irish Cup Winner 1978/79; Gold Cup Winner 1980/81, Runner-Up 1978/79; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1978/79.

Club Career:
FA Cup

A product of the Boys Model School on the Ballysillan Road, Brian Johnston worked his way through the ranks at Cliftonville. At 20 he was regarded as amongst the best goalkeepers in the Irish League. He was selected for Northern Ireland's first Under-21 international, against the Republic of Ireland at Dalymount Park, on 8th March 1978. Johnston's outstanding performance earned him the attentions of several mainland clubs, including Celtic, and a place in the senior international squad for that season's Home Nations series. At one point it looked likely that he would take the field at Wembley as Jim Platt suffered a knock, but the Middlesbrough 'keeper recovered to leave Johnston as an unused substitute.

An accounts clerk by day, Johnston retained his amateur status long after Cliftonville went professional. He was between the posts in 1979 as The Reds collected their first trophies in close to fifty years as they celebrated their centenary. 15,000 saw an exciting 3-2 Irish Cup Final win over Portadown and two weeks later a penalty shoot-out defeat of Crusaders saw them claim the Co. Antrim Shield. Johnston was still at Solitude two seasons later as they defeated Linfield 3-1 infront of 10,000 people at Windsor Park in the 1980 Gold Cup play-off.

The move across the water never materialised for Johnston, and by the mid-point of the 1981/82 season he was displaced as Cliftonville's number one by the veteran Bobby Carlisle.

Northern Ireland Under-21 Cap Details:
08-03-1978 Rep. of Ireland A D 1-1 FR

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 0.

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