One of the most notorious footballers of his generation, in 1989 Scottish international striker Maurice Johnston swapped the green hoops of Celtic – via a spell in France – for the blue of Rangers to become the first high-profile Catholic to play for the Glasgow club. Vilified on either side of Glasgow’s sectarian divide, Johnston handled the uproar with outstanding maturity, forming a fearsome partnership with Ally McCoist before losing his place to Mark Hateley.
A prolific goalscorer wherever he had played, Johnston came to Goodison in November 1991 for a hefty £1.5million charged with reviving Howard Kendall’s second term in charge. Quick, adroit and clinical, Johnston nevertheless represented a strange piece of business, for with such diminutive players as Peter Beardsley, Tony Cottee and Stuart Barlow to call upon, what Everton needed – what they were crying out for – was a forward with physical presence. Johnston flickered in a declining Everton team, scoring three goals in five games, including the strike that earned a draw in a Goodison derby three days after Christmas 1991. Then injuries struck – including an implausible incident with a rocking horse – and from thereon he was in and out of the Everton team.
There was, however, one last hurrah from Johnston. Included to face Liverpool in the December 1992 derby, his turn and shot from the edge of the Liverpool penalty area brought Everton an equaliser just a minute after conceeding; Peter Beardsley scored Everton's second six minutes from full time to record a 2-1 win.
That was Johnston's last goal for Everton and from thereon he looked on largely from the sidelines, before being granted a free transfer in summer 1993. Spells with Hearts and Falkirk failed to witness a return to previous form and in 1996 he joined up with former Scotland team-mate Richard Gough at Kansas City Wizards in the MLS, subsequently building a coaching career in America.