Celtic boss rules out new Kristoffer Ajer position

By David Walton

July 10, 2019

Neil Lennon last night ruled out the idea of the new Kristoffer Ajer position being permanent.

Ajer was shoehorned into right-back in the 3-1 win over Sarajevo. To say he performed well would be an understatement too. The big man proved to be his usual colossal self, yet showed some attacking threat as well. He bombed down the right and got into some promising attacking areas. Granted, there wasn’t much from him in the form of a final ball.

It didn’t matter in the end. Celtic cruised to success, and Ajer was a big part of it. He proved to many that he can be adaptable when the situation demands it, and adds some competition to the right-back slot for now.

Kristoffer Ajer has proved himself fully suitable for the right-back spot (Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

But Lennon was also keen to let supporters know post-match that this won’t be a permanent solution. Speaking to the BBC (21:04) after the win in Bosnia, Lennon had this to say on Ajer:

“We had to fit a few square pegs in round holes because of where we are with the squad. I thought [Kristoffer] Ajer was unbelievable at right-back. Obviously that’s not a long-term thing.

“We worked out the way that they were playing. We stopped trying to play the ball centrally and got the ball out wide to stretch them”

Kristoffer Ajer position offers question marks over Ralston

Unless there’s an injury we don’t yet know about, this must be a concern for Anthony Ralston. He’s the only natural right-back currently at the club. Yet, despite that fact, Lennon still evidently didn’t trust him last night in Bosnia.

You can’t argue with the gaffer either. This was a good night’s work for the Hoops, and all supporters would’ve taken it before kick-off. Ajer was a big part of it too with a commanding display down the right. We didn’t look for long spells as though we were lacking at right-back, and the door was kept shut well whenever Sarajevo tried to exploit that side.

Anthony Ralston was on the bench last night (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Ajer proved he can play there if needs must. So what does that therefore say about Ralston’s Celtic future? After all, whenever a situation arises where we need a right-back, Ajer looks like getting the call over Ralston from this point forward.

Lennon never moved to explain why Ralston wasn’t selected either. It’s almost as if he was just forgotten about. But for Ajer, it was another string added to his bow.

Ajer’s driving runs were on show last night (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

He has played in the past at right-back for Celtic. None of those displays were as convincing as he was last night, however. He has a presence and an ability on the ball to keep the play flowing. His driving runs are also suited to the position when we need an alternative in there.

Lennon, however, appears keen not to make it anything more permanent for now.