Kristoffer Ajer’s display against St Mirren wasn’t anything we aren’t already used to.
The Norwegian defender was solid as a rock against Oran Kearney’s side, and dominated both Duckens Nazon and Simeon Jackson throughout the contest.
And whilst there may not be much quality in the ranks of the Paisley side, it gave Ajer the chance to flex his muscles once again. And at this stage of the game, it’s surely now fair to say Ajer is our number one centre-back.
As well as being dominant in the air, Ajer is incredibly comfortable with the ball at his feet. We saw last night once again how much responsibility he’s happy to put on his shoulders. When Celtic are struggling for a breakthrough, he’s the first to step out and pull opposition defenders out of place.
Ajer is quite happy to risk being made to look foolish for the team. But what’s so impressive about him is that he never does end up looking silly when he steps out. He has the grace of a top-quality box-to-box midfielder with the strides he takes out of defence.
A commanding leader
He came so close to opening the scoring early on against St Mirren too. He started out with a run from the back, before latching onto a Callum McGregor through ball and curling over the bar.
Last night was Ajer’s 40th game of the season for club and country. He’s been Celtic’s main defensive force throughout the season, and is now a key member of the starting XI.
It’s now surely fair to say he’s our number one at the back. Dedryck Boyata is injured and out of contract at the end of the season. Jozo Simunovic, Filip Benkovic, and Jack Hendry all haven’t made the impact Ajer has.
If his now-famous block against Rangers wasn’t enough to convince you, then his dominant display last night must’ve helped further.
Celtic have an incredibly gifted talent on their hands. A youngster who wants to take responsibility for his team whilst knowing his role as a defender. It’s a sign of Ajer’s growth during his time in Scotland, and he certainly looks the part.
Our best defender? He’s certainly our most valuable.