Albian Ajeti and his "now or never" challenge at Celtic
Albian Ajeti is facing a critical period at Celtic when it comes to his long-term future at the club.
Indeed, this could be his big shot to show everyone that he can be a reliable squad striker and even push for a more regular place in the team when everyone is fit.
Kyogo Furuhashi is expected to be out of action for a number of weeks with an injury, while new signing Giorgos Giakoumakis wasn’t quite ready for match action at the weekend.
For former Celtic attacker Kris Commons, this is Ajeti’s ‘now or never’ chance that he simply has to take to justify his price tag.
Speaking to The Scottish Daily Mail [13/09 print edition, Verdict supplement page 6], Commons said of the player: “Given that the club paid £5million to sign him from West Ham last year, I think it’s fair to say we’ve yet to see the best of the Swiss striker.
“Ajeti came back in pre-season and looked leaner and fitter. He looked sharp and hungry to be part of the squad under Ange Postecoglou.
“Listen, scoring a couple of goals against the likes of Ross County is all well and good, but it’s still too early to say that Ajeti has truly arrived as a Celtic player. Final judgment should be reserved until we are another three or four weeks down the line — because there’s no doubt that Ajeti is now set to be handed his big chance.
“If he can lead the line for Celtic during this period and keep banging in the goals, it’ll prove once and for all that he’s good enough. He has the chance to propel the club forward domestically and in Europe. It’s a chance he simply has to take. It’s now or never for Ajeti in a Celtic jersey.”
Ajeti struggled to replicate the impact of a Kyogo against County on Saturday. But then you could argue it is unfair to compare the two given they play with a different style.
Either way, his all-around game needs to improve beyond what witnessed at the weekend, even if he did find his way to two confidence-boosting goals.
I’m hoping those finishes were the boost he needed to bring his game back to an acceptable level for a £5m player.
Manager Ange Postecoglou was delighted with his perseverance and if the big Greek-Australian is happy, I am too.
Betis will be a huge measuring stick for where Ajeti is as a Celtic player. Roll on the challenge.
In other news, Celtic monitoring situation of Cardiff defender Ciaron Brown.