Neil Lennon has worryingly confirmed that Albian Ajeti missed today’s clash against St Johnstone at Parkhead because he’s picked up a hamstring injury.
Ajeti started last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Ross County in the Betfred Cup – striking the post with our only chance of the game. He was then an unused sub as Celtic lost 4-2 to AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday night.
It was immediately notable when Lennon’s team was announced for today’s 1-1 stalemate that Ajeti wasn’t anywhere to be seen. For a player that cost the club £5million to bag him from West Ham United in the summer (Sky Sports), that was always going to attract big questions.
And the manager has this afternoon said the decision to keep Ajeti out was injury-enforced as he touched on it when speaking to Celtic TV post-match.
“We need a little bit more support for Odsonne at times in the final third. Ajeti – he was out with a hamstring (issue) today. But we need more quality in the final third, and the players have got it.”
Ajeti’s lack of fitness threatens to blow his season
This isn’t great. Lennon has yet to go into detail on just how long Albian is going to be sidelined for, and needless to say we all hope it’s going to be for the short-term. However, he’s consistently had problems with his fitness since arriving in the summer.
Remember, Ajeti took weeks to get himself up to 100% fitness levels when he arrived from West Ham. He then picked up a hamstring injury against Hibernian back in September – the last time he scored a goal.
Now, it appears he’s picked up another one, and goodness knows if it’s going to be long-term. But the fact is he isn’t being given the opportunity to drill some momentum down.
It didn’t look great when he wasn’t in the squad. St Johnstone at home is the kind of fixture Lennon should’ve been looking to give Ajeti more minutes and try to build up his confidence again. The fact he wasn’t fit for it is a massive blow for him, and you have to wonder when he’ll get back in.
With Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard the ideal strike pairing at the moment, it could be the case that Ajeti’s injury problems leave him struggling for minutes as the season goes on.
All in all, it hasn’t been an ideal start for the Swiss forward.