Kristoffer Ajer reportedly laughed at Derek McInnes’ racehorse comparison before giving his own view, according to the Herald.
Ajer ran the length of the pitch to get on the end of a James Forrest ball to secure three points at Pittodrie yesterday. The dramatic winner came after Callum McGregor and Ash Taylor traded first-half strikes.
It was only his third goal of the season, but it could be a crucial one after he managed to consolidate Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership at 10 points.
McInnes would then come out and label Ajer a “racehorse” with the way he strode past the dugouts. And, after reportedly laughing at the comparison, Ajer said the following in the Herald.
“I like to run, so when I get the opportunity to attack I will. I saw James had the ball on the left side, and with his quality, I knew he wouldn’t lose the ball. I screamed for the ball from the halfway line, and luckily I got it.
“It was a fantastic moment. We knew that Aberdeen were going to be tough. They made a fantastic game of it, they pressed us high, they made it difficult for us to play out from the back and they created some very good chances. They performed at a really high level.
“I knew that the goalkeeper is a really good goalkeeper and he was making himself big, so I had to lift the ball. I’m just happy that I managed to do that.”
Another right-back solution?
Ajer seriously impressed at the start of the season when he slotted in at right-back when we were lacking in cover.
Of course, since the arrivals of Hatem Abd Elhamed, Jeremie Frimpong, and Moritz Bauer, it’s fair to say that we’ve been more than well-stocked in that position.
However, Ajer has proven that he can be a marauding option down the right when necessary. If he can finish like that, it’s ideal if we get him into those kinds of areas more regularly. It was a stunning piece of initiative from the Norwegian to win us the game in Aberdeen, and all credit must go to him.
Then again, Ajer is needed at centre-back more than he is at right-back. His partnership with Christopher Jullien has its faults, but the pair have been playing with each other since early on this season.
Playing in the centre doesn’t give Ajer that same space to run into. Sure, when he sees a gap he’ll try to exploit it. But down the right, he has more time and space to dart into.
His cameo in the position was once again impressive in the Granite City. That also came after not looking too comfortable at the heart of the defence for the first hour. However, don’t expect this to lead to a permanent change. Ajer remains an integral part of our centre-back partnership.