Kris Ajer was at it again last night for Celtic.
After being, by some distance, our best player at Ibrox before the Dubai debacle, the Norwegian was again the standout at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
There wasn’t much to like about last night’s 2-2 draw in West Lothian. However, Ajer’s performance was by far the biggest plus-point.
Operating at right-back in place of Jeremie Frimpong, he was our main attacking threat. Indeed, big Kris consistently stormed beyond the Livingston defence and got several decent balls into the box.
His end product could’ve been better, but he was the one breaking the lines. And all throughout the 90 minutes too. Even after Livingston had equalised, he put in a great low ball across the fact of goal that resulted in no takers.
Then, for some bizarre reason, the manager hooked him. Yup, our best attacking outlet was hauled off to make way for Frimpong. Jeremie was on for the final 13 minutes and failed to beat his man once.
Kris Ajer bossed it again for Celtic….before being taken off
It would’ve made a lot more sense had Lennon decided to hook the once again ineffective Ryan Christie. If he wanted Frimpong on, which wasn’t a bad idea at the time, then he should’ve been teaming him up with Ajer on that right side. Not replacing him. You can bet the Livingston defence will have been breathing sigh of relief after that.
In truth, Ajer must be getting sick of this. I’m aware he generally splits the support. Maybe I’m one of those guilty of not being able to see past him. But he, for me, has consistently looked a level above some of the players alongside him.
How the likes of Christie or even Shane Duffy stayed on the pitch last night is pretty incredible. Why we waited, once again, until 70 minutes to make a substitution is also bewildering. Remember, we get five subs this season and it takes us that long to make one of them.
Ajer also showed more emotion than anyone else last night too. Whenever a cross doesn’t come off for him or he misses an opportunity, you can see what it means to him. He gets genuinely disappointed with himself. It’s almost a relief to see that level of hurt coming from a Celtic player in this grim season.
And supporters were certainly keen to hail Ajer last night before the wild decision to take him off. Here’s a look at some of the reaction:
Ajer should be the centrepiece of the rebuild next season…
He’ll cost much more to replace!
— Ryan McGinlay (@TheRyanMcGinlay) January 20, 2021
Kris Ajer ran 64.7km in the first half.
That is mental. Keep him at all costa.
— ⛷ (@notnotsmn_67) January 20, 2021
Really not looking forward to the day we let Ajer go 😕
— Lewis 🍋 (@LewisLaird01) January 20, 2021
He’s seriously took Ajer off and kept Duffy at Centre Back 😂😂😂😂 nah I’m done!
— Sean McCrory (@SeanMcCrory8) January 20, 2021
MOTM Ajer off but Duffy staying on.
I’m not even surprised.
— Chairman Lmao ☭ (@BenTheTim) January 20, 2021
A will be in tears when Ajer leaves in the summer
— AidanSelik (@AidanSelik) January 20, 2021
What baffled me last night, Ajer is our only fit decent certain half and we sub him .. why no take off either Biton or Duffy and move him into the middle ?
— Brother Joseph (@SEirruc) January 21, 2021
@CelticFC give Kristoffer Ajer a new contract and make this bhoy captain when brown steps dwn and start building a defensive line around him best right back we have and only guy that’s gives 100 percent show him respect and don’t lose another star
— infusion (@infusio12027595) January 20, 2021
If that wasn't Lennon's last match tonight it's a joke! Unacceptable Celtic! The substitutions were a disgrace. Especially taking Ajer off. He was by far the man of the match! Replaced for Frimpong. Absolute joke and Turnbull off as well. Anyone making decisions like that must go
— Bee 🍀💚 !! (@celticghirl_bee) January 20, 2021