GEORGE Johnston didn’t have the time, nor the heart, to celebrate his first goal in Bolton Wanderers colours.

The former Feyenoord and Liverpool defender headed the Whites’ equaliser at FC United with the last touch of the game but left the cheering to the 300-or-so travelling supporters at Broadhurst Park.

An underwhelming day was brought to an end by the referee’s whistle seconds after the ball had hit the back of the net, and Johnston knew a rollocking was on its way in the dressing room.

“Usually, a last-minute equaliser I’d celebrate but not today,” he told The Bolton News. “We were a bit dejected with our performance, so we move on.

“Thankfully Seens (Senior) headed it back across and I knocked it into the open net.

“It was a tough afternoon for the fans as well but we gave them something to cheer about at the very end.”

Wanderers have scored in stoppage time in each of their three pre-season games, which could yet be a handy weapon to carry into League One.

But Johnston knew the quality of performance against the semi-professional opponents had dropped way below what had gone before.

“It was a tough afternoon for many reasons,” he said. “First of all the heat, it was really hot and it did impact on the performance, secondly the performance on the pitch just wasn’t there. It wasn’t quick or sharp enough. But we got through it and now we have got three good games to look forward to before starting the season.

“We know our standards were not good enough today. It was the basics that let us down, tackles, winning duels, being first to the ball and outrunning our opponents. That is what let us down the most and it is what hurts the most because they are the things we should be better than any team at.”

Wanderers face Preston North End at Leyland on Tuesday night, with a much larger crowd expected at County FA headquarters.

Johnston knows a repeat performance would spell trouble.

“We need to test ourselves against tougher opponents and if we play like that against Preston we will get rolled over, no question,” he said. “We have to step up on Tuesday and it is a good test because they are a Championship team and the type you want to be competing against in the future.

“I think the performance was out of the blue but we can’t ignore the basics, they should never let us down. Other things can influence a game that you can’t control, but those you can have to be spot on.”