Kristoffer Ajer hits back at Derek McInnes' accusation
Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has defended himself against accusations from Derek McInnes and Aberdeen that he tried to con the referee into sending Sam Cosgrove off last week, The Scottish Sun report.
Neil Lennon’s Bhoys won the fixture 2-1 at Celtic Park and after the match, the Pittodrie camp were not happy in the slightest, taking to the media to slate the way Ajer reacted to Cosgrove’s heavy tackle.
Dons boss McInnes directly accused Ajer of winking and laughing on the ground in the aftermath, influencing the decision, even though referee Euan Anderson took just seconds to flash the red card.
Ajer has remained silent all week but has now had his say on it all, hitting back at the claims and sending a dire warning to Scottish football.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “There were no winks. If you look at the tackle I’m not really fooling the referee. He hit me at quite hard speed.
“If you see the tackle and know the game, it’s a sending off. As a foreign player, I can’t see why it’s being discussed but that’s how it is here. Have I ever pretended I’m injured? No. Did you see the way I rolled in the end, did you see the way he hit my leg?
“For some reason, here in Scotland you almost have to keep your leg planted for it to be a red card, and this is the problem. It feels like in Scotland someone has to get seriously injured for someone to get sent off. If Scotland wants that to be the product here, no foreign players will come. That’s the truth.”
Setting the record straight
McInnes’ comments have mostly gone unchallenged by pundits and others this week so it’s good to see Ajer sticking up for himself and setting the record straight on the incident.
He was absolutely clattered by Cosgrove, who appeared to have little control over himself even if he got a foot on the ball.
The Norwegian international was lucky to escape without injury and then had to deal with bitter media accusations from a senior professional who should know better.
Scottish football should also listen to the player’s warning about the attitude towards tackles and serious challenges, as a young man whose chosen to progress his career in the country.
He clearly feels the conversation around such incidents could put off potential arrivals to the country.
The game in Scotland doesn’t have the best of reputations as it is. Perpetuating the myth that the physicality and roughness of the league is a benefit is a disservice to those coaches and players trying to reshape how young talents are developed.