Johnston knows Edu has been under pressure since his move from the Canadian club and told the Scottish Sun: “When you look at the fee it’s not that much money for a 22-year-old international player. Maurice can play in two or three positions, given a little bit of confidence.
“I watched the Hibs game on TV and I thought he was outstanding. I was especially pleased to see him get another goal because that will do him the world of good. I think in two or three years time Maurice will be worth a lot more to Rangers than they paid.
“He is showing his quality now. The important thing is he’s playing regularly and he looks full of belief. Maurice has just turned 23 — so he can only improve as a player in the years ahead.”
Johnston revealed the story of Rangers’s move for Edu.
He said: “One of Coisty’s best mates is out here and he’d been telling him about Maurice, one of our best players. I wasn’t aware of Rangers’ interest until Coisty called me one day and asked about the boy. He wanted to know how good he was and I just said ‘Maurice is a great talent, but he’s NOT for sale.’
“Rangers promptly arranged for him to be watched at the Olympics. Maurice played three games and did well. Funnily enough, he played centre-back in Beijing.
“Rangers stepped up their interest and Coisty phoned me again to say they wanted to put a bid in and wondered what the procedure was. I told him they had to go through the MLS as they owned player registrations.
“Rangers made an offer and the MLS made us aware. They asked what I thought, as did my bosses. I was aware it was approaching the end of the transfer window in Britain — and advised them to get as much as possible for Maurice.
“In the end Rangers paid what I consider to be a very good fee. Maurice flew to Scotland to complete the move. And when he got back he told he was amazed by the size of the club. He’s a very level headed lad but he’s also someone who can adjust well. He never complains.
“I’ve left him alone for the last five or six months. But I speak regularly to Coisty and he always told me they were happy with Maurice. Now he’s making the most of his chance — and I’m delighted.”