Celtic boss Neil Lennon will be risk-averse; don't expect Ajeti today

By Euan Davidson

January 30, 2021

For Celtic manager Neil Lennon, today’s match against St. Mirren is big.

That’s because every game is big from now until the end of the season. From one perspective, it might be easy to argue that 20-21 is a write-off.

Yet, the last thing supporters want is for Celtic to drop more points. For all of Lennon’s deficiencies as a coach, he’s not completely daft. When he can, he’ll play his strongest team in the league. The only thing left to play for is pride, barring a seismic collapse from Rangers.

It’s hard to argue that the Celtic boss Neil Lennon’s best team doesn’t include Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths. The other night, Celtic’s strike duo combined for 2 goals against Hamilton, attempting to recreate the magic of last season.

Edouard’s dribbling ability, brute force and finishing ability make him undroppable. On any kind of form, he’s Celtic’s best player. Leigh Griffiths is perfect foil; a precocious striker who makes clever runs and can finish from distance as well as tap it in.

That doesn’t leave room for a £5m signing. Albian Ajeti continues to be frozen out.

Celtic striker Albian Ajeti / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic manager Neil Lennon seems to be unimpressed

We know the story by now: Ajeti started hot, picked up niggling injuries, and hasn’t been in the side regularly since. He’s won points on his own this season [BBC], but in general, it doesn’t look like Neil Lennon has been keen to use the Swiss striker.

Ajeti’s stats aren’t bad at all. 5 goals and 2 assists is good enough for a ratio of a goal involvement every other game [Transfermarkt]. That said, Lennon doesn’t really seem to know what kind of striker Ajeti is. Is he an all-purpose, complete forward? Is he best alone, or next to a strike partner? If so, what kind; Edouard or Griffiths?

None of these questions seem to have answers yet.

As my colleague David Walton pointed out, Ajeti hasn’t played more than 20 minutes in any of our previous eight matches. He;’s only managed a full 90 minutes on one occasion. That was in the Betfred Cup [Transfermarkt].

The former West Ham United and FC Basel forward is, however, pretty clinical. Ajeti has only managed 0.7 shots per game [WhoScored?], which makes his goal tally all the more impressive. Without getting much of a sniff at goal, he’s still managed to put a few away this season.

But, does any supporter really know that much about his game? It’s a baffling situation, given the outlay.

As Neil Lennon seeks more points against a potentially tricky St. Mirren side, it’d be surprising to see Ajeti start ahead of Eddy or Griff. If he does, it’s a massive opportunity for him, and anything less than success will see him on the bench again next game.

I don’t see it happening.