Albian Ajeti's absence in Celtic's most meaningless games isn't a good look
Albian Ajeti’s absence from Celtic’s recent games certainly doesn’t read well for how he’s performing in training.
John Kennedy certainly had his favourites during his time as interim manager. The likes of Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor, Scott Brown, and Odsonne Edouard were left seemingly undroppable.
However, whilst he hardly gave the fringe men much of a chance, there were always cameos here and there. Ismaila Soro, for example, was brought on six times in Kennedy’s 10 games in charge whilst starting one of them. Leigh Griffiths, meanwhile, came on in seven of them and started one.
But the same couldn’t be said for the struggling Ajeti. The Swiss forward, who cost Celtic a reported £5million in the summer from West Ham United [Sky Sports], has been consistently snubbed by Kennedy.
Celtic’s last four league matches in particular have been absolutely meaningless. Outside of the prospect of ending Rangers’ unbeaten league run, there was nothing left to play for. We knew our fate. Yet Ajeti still couldn’t get a run-out despite being one of our fringe players. The Swiss hasn’t played a single minute in any of our final four league games.
Regardless of the occasion, Albian Ajeti’s absence from the team continued
In the Scottish Cup, Kennedy gave him the final four minutes at Ibrox. That followed a 28-minute cameo against Falkirk in the previous outing. He would also bag 22 minutes against Livingston on April 10th. Outside of that, Kennedy hasn’t even given him a second’s thought.
Kennedy stated he would make full use of the squad this week to conclude the campaign against St Johnstone and Hibernian. Yet Ajeti didn’t get a single minute. That’s damning, with the interim boss’ constant dismissiveness towards the striker a bad sign.
Neil Lennon previously admitted that Ajeti’s work rate had been poor and that he hadn’t been in the best condition. However, this was supposed to be something that the player had sorted out [Scottish Sun].
If his continued bench-warmer is a result of a failure to get himself into top condition, the writing is on the wall. We need to have players at the football club committed to ensuring they’re at peak fitness next season. Ready to go in tunnel-visioned and ready to take the title back in ruthless fashion.
Granted, Kennedy hasn’t moved to explain why he won’t select Ajeti. Perhaps he just didn’t fancy him or didn’t believe he fitted in well to his own system. But the final games of the season were an opportunity to try out new things and different players. That Ajeti has been snubbed should be a big worry for him.
We’ll see what the coming weeks bring under the new manager. But if Ajeti wants a long-term future at this football club, he needs to start getting the finger out.