Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer reckons the Hoops defence has improved since the last time Cluj came to Glasgow.
Dan Petrescu’s men will aim for double Paradise delight on Thursday night as the sides meet again. The Romanians were 4-3 winners in Champions League qualification a mere seven weeks ago, but lots has changed since then.
Ajer, who played that night, reckons the Hoops’ defence is one of those key changes.
“The more games you play together, the better you become,” he explained to press. (Official Celtic website)
“I feel like the whole back four are getting to know each other. We’re talking a lot in training and during the meetings with the staff after games to learn how we can improve.
“It’s been quite easy to adapt to that. The gaffer and the staff have coped really well with the new players and they have coped well integrating into the group.
“We are a really easy group of players to get involved with. There’s a nice togetherness in the group and that helps a lot.”
Cluj defeat has taken the likes of Ajer on to new level
Neil Lennon probably still doesn’t know his best defensive line-up. Fraser Forster is undoubtedly the first-choice goalkeeper while Ajer and Christopher Jullien would probably be looked at as the ideal centre-back pairing. But there is still real indecision at full-back with so many viable options in those areas.
However, the Celtic defence that plays on Thursday night will automatically be more settled than the last time we faced Cluj. Back in mid August we had no Jullien or Bolingoli in the side, and Callum McGregor filled in at left-back.
Now we know that if the Scotland international plays it will almost certainly be in midfield.
We showed over the two qualifiers that we can hurt the Romanians offensively. The problem was that we couldn’t keep the ball out of our own net. If we can tighten up in that area on Thursday then we should have enough firepower to win the game.
It will be a real marker of how much we’ve improved in the last two months.