Neil Lennon confirms Celtic's Albian Ajeti won't start against Reykjavik

By David Walton

August 17, 2020

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has confirmed that Albian Ajeti won’t start against KR Reykjavik tomorrow night.

The Hoops host the Icelandic champions in what will be an empty Celtic Park for their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round shoot-out.

Lennon’s side head into the game bolstered by the acquisition of £5million man Ajeti, who signed a four-year contract with the club from West Ham United last week (Sky Sports).

Celtic’s Albian Ajeti / (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

However, with Ajeti having not started a game for seven months, it was always going to be doubtful that he made the starting XI tomorrow. And Lennon, speaking at his pre-match press conference, confirmed where Ajeti is at.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Lennon said: “He’ll be in the squad but he’s not ready to start. He’s got a bit more work to do.

I think he’ll be a very good signing for us going forward. I think he’s a natural goalscorer.”

Time for Patryk Klimala to seize his chance?

In our predicted XI for the game tomorrow night, we said that we believed Lennon would go with a 3-5-2 and give Patryk Klimala his shot alongside Odsonne Edouard.

We still believe that will be the case. Now that the Celtic manager has the attacking reinforcements he needs, there’s no time like the present to try out a new attack-minded formation.

If Ajeti makes the squad tomorrow night, it’s almost certain he’ll come on. If he wasn’t to play for a single minute, regardless of how the game is going, it would disappoint many of the supporters.

Will Patryk Klimala get his chance against Reykjavik? (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, Lennon is right to say he has some work ahead of him. As mentioned before, he hasn’t started a game of football since January (Transfermarkt).

There will surely be some conditioning work needing done there. But it works out for the best regardless, as Klimala deserves his chance to partner Edouard after goals against Nice, Hibernian (x2), and Hamilton respectively.

Whether Lennon does indeed go with a new formation remains to be seen. It’s just exciting to see us have some genuine goalscoring threats in reserve.

In other news, Celtic-linked Ivan Toney looks like he’ll be signing elsewhere.