Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer has revealed that his Hoops teammates always laugh at him for celebrating tackles.
Ajer was thrust into the spotlight against Rangers at Celtic Park last March. He made a stunning block to thwart Rangers defender Joe Worrall from snatching a late equaliser. He then proceeded to celebrate as if he’d just scored a goal.
It’s not the first time Ajer has done it either. He clearly takes huge joy and pride in his defensive work, and believes that it’s just as good as a goal.
But speaking in the Celtic View today (Volume 54, Issue 41, Page 13), Ajer bit back at his sniggering teammates, and said he has every right to continue roaring when making a vital block.
“The rest of the boys always laugh at me when I cheer my own tackles. They always laugh at me in those moments, mostly because I’m always like that – be it during a game or even during training. I celebrate my best tackles no matter where I make them.
“I love making tackles like that, and because I don’t score too many goals during games, I feel I’m entitled to celebrate my contributions at the other end with the same enthusiasm.”
Hasn’t gotten the credit he’s deserved
Ajer has had one of the best campaigns in a Celtic jersey this season. He’s managed a stunning 46 appearances for club and country this term. Incredibly, however, he was omitted for contention from both the PFA Young Player of the Year and SWFA Young Player of the Year awards.
Funnily enough, you could easily make a claim for Ajer being a contender for the main awards too. He’s become Celtic’s most dependable centre-back, and has kept 28 clean sheets in total this term.
What’s even more impressive is how often he’s had to do it with different centre-back partners too. At the start of the season, he was playing alongside Jack Hendry. He’s also featured with both Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic in spells.
Now, he’s creating a fine partnership with Jozo Simunovic, and the duo have only shipped two goals together. No wonder either when you consider just how much pride Ajer in particular takes in his defensive work.
He’s quite right to have a go at his Celtic teammates too. He’s saved us many times this season, and if you were to count his vital blocks up in goals, Ajer would be our top scorer by some distance.
It’s been a heroic campaign from the young Norwegian. There’s undoubtedly even better to come next year.