90 minutes and a goal: Celtic striker Ajeti takes chance to give Lennon thought

By Euan Davidson

February 2, 2021

For Celtic and Ajeti, it was a decent day’s work.

The Bhoys beat Killie 4-0 at Rugby Park; a cleansing win that provides the perfect tonic for a dreadful week. Even Scott Brown got on the scoresheet, as Neil Lennon’s men took advantage of set-pieces and exciting counter-attacking play.

This result will have come as a massive relief for both Celtic and Albian Ajeti. Somewhat of a forgotten man around Parkhead, the £5m man [Sky Sports] was excellent as the Bhoys took the game to Killie. His play deserved a goal, and he got it, with a neat finish on the 86th minute.

Oddly, given his playing time, he scored with his only shot of the game. All throughout, he was dropping deep to create space for Odsonne Edouard, or attempting link-up play with Greg Taylor, Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor.

Even more bizarrely, according to WhoScored?, Celtic forward Ajeti only had 19 touches. And with those touches, he was industrious and largely helped to put moves together for the Bhoys.

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Fine, the opposition was poor. Killie are lacking a manager, and they’re on a brutal run of form. Still, you have to take the kernels of postivity this season, and Ajeti’s performance qualifies comfortably.

Celtic striker Albian Ajeti tucking away his goal / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Sterner tests ahead for Celtic and Ajeti

So, what happens now? Celtic face Motherwell on Saturday, and the Swiss centre-forward ought to keep his place. Against the physicality of Declan Gallagher, Edouard and Ajeti will have a more difficult time of it.

That said, Motherwell haven’t exactly been solid at the back. Over their last six matches, they’ve conceded 10 goals, and a hungry pairing of the Swiss and French forwards will surely have chances aplenty.

We’re still a way off from an Ajeti renaissance. Yet, he showed plenty tonight to provide excitement. The striker was able to hold his own against an oncoming Killie defender and finish with grace. Equally, he contributed by winning a penalty which began Celtic’s second-half rout. He’s getting into the right positions, and it’s hugely encouraging.

Building for next season is important. If Ajeti can build any kind of form in the latter half of the 20-21 season, then we can collect the positives and build a competent team for next year. Edouard will inevitably leave, while Griffiths and Klimala’s futures are by no means certain.

Yes, this match not might have meant much in the long-run. But if it kick-starts Ajeti’s Celtic career, then we can look back on it as a landmark. Here’s hoping.