Chris Sutton applauds Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou's "perfect" pre-season Albian Ajeti call

By Euan Davidson

July 10, 2021

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton reckons Ange Postecoglou played it perfectly with Swiss striker Albian Ajeti.

Ajeti initially looked like shrewd business for Celtic after his £4.5m signing from West Ham United [BBC]. However, the former FC Basel marksman endured a torrid back-half of the season, and seemed to be a forgotten man by the end of 20-21.

Against Sheffield Wednesday this week, Ajeti was given the armband by new Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. Sutton, who knows all about scoring goals for the Bhoys, reckons it was a “perfect” way to show his faith in the 24-year-old.

In his column for the Daily Record, Sutton said:

“[Postecoglou] can’t have passengers and he needs to get people like the Swiss striker on his side and playing to full potential.

“Dishing out the captain’s armband to Ajeti for the day looks like a shrewd move and a clever throw of a dice.

“If the player needed a sign that he was wanted and he was loved by the new boss, that was the perfect way to show it.

“For all Postecoglou knows due to transfer business and off-pitch scenarios, Ajeti might be his main striker shortly until others arrive and the gaffer needs to find ways to get him firing.”

And fire, he did. It may have just been a pre-season friendly, but Ajeti looked sharp. He equalised for the Bhoys against Sheffield Wednesday, with Celtic eventually winning the game 3-1.

Celtic striker Albian Ajeti could be crucial this season; Sutton is right to laud Postecoglou’s call

For what it’s worth, it was a decision that made Ajeti very happy indeed. With so much uncertainty in our striking ranks, especially with Vakoun Bayo departing, Ajeti could end up being the main man.

Certainly, in flashes last season, the Swiss striker showed the potential to be a reliable forward.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And with added responsibilities, even in a friendly, Ajeti rose to the occasion. The Swiss striker has plenty to be motivated by, after all; a snub from the Switzerland national team will have hurt. Equally, the presence of a new manager is a massive opportunity for the former Basel and West Ham United forward.

Of course, it’s still yet to be seen just how much Ajeti will play a part for Celtic in 21-22. However, early signs are good, and the smart money is on Ajeti starting for Celtic again today.

The Bhoys face Charlton Athletic at Dragon Park this afternoon. If we see Ajeti donning the armband again, it says a lot about Postecoglou’s faith in the ex-Premier League striker.

Sutton’s been there; after a torrid season with Chelsea, he needed a boss to show faith in his abilities. That boss was Martin O’Neill. The esteem Sutton is held in these days shows precisely how effective that faith was.

READ MORE: “I’m sure he’ll bounce back”