Kristoffer Ajer’s form over the last few weeks has definitely taken a downward spiral.
The normally dominant and composed Norwegian has been at the heart of a couple of poor opposition goals to lose in the last couple of weeks.
His main mistakes have come in matches against Rennes and Hibernian respectively. He conceded a daft penalty to allow Mbaye Niang to give the French side the lead in a Europa League clash. He then proceeded to grab his rival’s jersey throughout the game and risk further punishment.
Against Hibs, meanwhile, Ajer looked weak with his block from Christian Doidge’s cross. It spun beyond Fraser Forster and into the net. He’s certainly been struggling, and speaking in the Evening Times, he acknowledged he hasn’t been playing great.
“There’s always something you can pick up. As a human being, you will make mistakes but the important thing is that you learn from them and, hopefully, you won’t repeat them.
“I have looked through the penalty in Rennes several times and learned from that. That will hopefully not happen again. I have looked through the own goal against Hibs a few times as well.
“The penalty against Rennes? I absolutely could have and should have done better. It’s a learning experience. I look through all the clips with Kendo and we try to learn from it. The most important thing is it doesn’t happen regularly and hopefully it won’t.”
Ajer finally has some real class beside him – this can work
The mistakes from Ajer seem to have come into his game since he was partnered alongside Christopher Jullien. However, there’s absolutely no reason for Jullien’s displays to shake the Norwegian.
What they have perhaps done is forced Ajer to up his game. The former Start man hasn’t played with class like Jullien at all in his career. This is a step-up for him, and everyone has belief that he can perform alongside him.
It’s important to also take into account the positives from Ajer in recent weeks. He still looks composed on the ball and is still proving to be a useful outlet for Celtic in breaking teams down. None of that has changed, but it’s his rashness that has been a tad frustrating.
We all know he’ll bounce back of course. In the long run, it should be easier for him to work alongside Jullien than it was to play with Dedryck Boyata or Jozo Simunovic. This partnership should be incredibly strong when Ajer gets his form back.
Neil Lennon won’t do anything other than stick by him too. He’s a big fan of the Norwegian, and it’s clear he sees him as a first choice alongside big Jullien.
It’s good to see Ajer owning up to the mistakes. It’s a rare patchy time for him at the club, but he’s shown in the past how good he can be, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s showing it once again.