Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer has opened up on that challenge against Hamilton via the Scotsman, as he admit he nearly cost his side.
At the time, Celtic were leading 1-0 thanks to Callum McGregor’s fortuitous opener. The Hoops had generally been frustrated by Accies, who were resolute and not giving up a second easily.
With the game nearing its closing stages, the tension did rise inside Parkhead. And Accies, for all of their deep defending, had one big chance to equalise. Steven Boyd found himself beyond the Celtic defence. He was just about to pull the trigger and surely make it 1-1, but for the sliding boot of Ajer to knock it away.
And speaking in the Scotsman about the challenge, Ajer admitted he came so close to costing his team as opposed to saving them.
“I celebrated that tackle – strikers celebrate their goals so we should be allowed to do that,” Ajer told the Scotsman.
“You’re always happy to prevent a goal and I was actually in doubt if I was going to bring him down or not but, luckily, I made the right decision.
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“I also saw quite early that the ball was going wide from my tackle, so that was a relief.”
Making a case for his place
It was a huge moment in the match for Celtic and Accies. If Boyd had converted, there was no guarantee we were coming out of that match with three points. The challenge was inch-perfect, and Ajer solidified his position at centre-back.
With Dedryck Boyata out injured, that moment comes at a real opportune time for Ajer. Boyata still hasn’t signed a new contract yet, and his agent has already confirmed that isn’t an option.
Surely then, this is a huge chance for Ajer to take the big Belgian’s place permanently.
The partnership of Filip Benkovic and Boyata has thrown Ajer down to third choice. That’s despite the fact he hasn’t done a lot wrong throughout the course of the season. Moments like the one he provided on Saturday will only help the Norwegian’s case.
He’ll likely be in the team again on Wednesday night for the visit of St Johnstone too. It’s another chance to rack up yet another clean sheet and keep putting his case to Brendan Rodgers.