Neil Lennon has a difficult decision to make regarding Kristoffer Ajer ahead of Sunday’s derby against Rangers.

The young Norwegian has been in impressive form for the Bhoys since the winter break.

However, if both Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic are fit, Lennon may plump for those two ahead of Ajer.

Ajer’s stock continues to grow in world football. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

It would certainly be a controversial call for Lennon to make. Ajer has been among Celtic’s top performers in recent months.

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Furthermore, he has grown into the side as games have progressed. However, it’s not as if Lennon would be replacing him with lesser quality.

Boyata and Benkovic are considered to be Celtic’s best defensive partnership. Celtic’s good run of form domestically coincided with Benkovic settling into life in Glasgow next to Boyata.

However, ahead of Sunday’s derby, is it too big a risk to drop Ajer?

Ajer’s breakthrough into the Norway side has been impressive. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Lennon is not a manager who is afraid of making big decisions. In his first reign as Celtic boss, he had a knack of making big calls ahead of derby games.

 

His finest, may be plumping for Paddy McCourt behind Georgios Samaras at Ibrox in 2011. Both had arguably their best games for Celtic in a 2-0 win.

However, Lennon’s far from perfect. His 4-2-4 formation played into Walter Smith’s hands in Lennon’s first derby since getting the job full time. Celtic lost 3-1 that day as Smith made Lennon look every bit of the rookie he was.

However, that was then. Nearly nine years later, Lennon has matured into a very astute tactician.

Ajer will be hoping for the nod on Sunday.(Photo credit ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Norway back if he’s wrong

Lennon’s chances of gaining the job permanently again may hinge on Sunday’s derby.

If Celtic can defeat their rivals handsomely, fans will start to believe Lennon is the man long term.

However, a defeat to Rangers and the silent majority hoping it’s not Lennon will find their voice.

And if the game is decided by a defensive blunder from Celtic, with or without Ajer, Lennon will ultimately be the fall guy.

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