Both Kristoffer Ajer and Mikael Lustig came through an epic 3-3 draw between Norway and Sweden last night with no fresh news of injuries.
Ajer played the 90 minutes alongside Havard Nordveit, and will be disappointed to have shipped three goals. But the main thing from a Celtic perspective is that he got through it with no injury.
Lustig, on the other hand, was an unused substitute. This came after he came off against Romania several days previously with a knock. He hasn’t played since picking up that injury, but was fit enough to be part of the Swedish squad last night.
The match itself was incredible. Norway had powered into a 2-0 lead just before the hour mark. But Sweden hit back and rattled home three goals, with the third coming in the 91st minute through Robin Quaison.
Ajer’s Norway, however, weren’t to give in. In the sixth minute of added time, Ola Kamara fired home a late equaliser to seal a precious point.
If anything, mental exhaustion could be just as important as the physical equivalent – particularly for Ajer. The game against the Swedes was his 38th match of the season – a fine return for March.
Strength in depth of vital importance
In terms of Sunday, however, it looks like Celtic finally have some strength in depth at the back.
Filip Benkovic’s timely return two weeks ago proves that he can play a part if necessary. But you have to imagine that Ajer will be the first-choice at centre-back alongside the returning Dedryck Boyata.
The battle is still on at right-back between Lustig and Jeremy Toljan, however. Nothing should be set in stone there, and if Lustig is fit, it will be interesting to see who Neil Lennon chooses between the pair.
But Celtic were initially staring down the barrel at several key defensive injuries. Now, it looks as though they’re going into the Rangers match in great health on Sunday.
Lennon is starting to have a real decent pool to choose from for the weekend. And last night’s Norway-Sweden clash has to go down as a success too.