Celtic are going through their worst season in years, but Kristoffer Ajer has done enough to earn plaudits from John Hartson.
Yesterday, we spoke about how Hoops supporters appreciated Kristoffer’s display at Livingston. Even though the game finished 2-2 and pressure ramped up again on Lennon, Ajer was our only success-story at right-back.
In addition to that, he was Celtic’s best player at Ibrox before the Dubai nonsense too. Even at just 22 years of age, Ajer looks like one of the most experienced in this struggling Hoops side.
And Hartson reserved the Norwegian for some well-earned praise, and even suggested the rest of the Celtic players should look up to him.
Speaking to Ten10’s Instant Celtic Reaction podcast, Hartson said: “He’s grabbing the bull by the horns and he’s almost dragging the team through, even to these draws. You see him making these lung-bursting runs forward, he’s marauding with that big stride, he’s challenging, on his backside, making blocks, in the opposition’s penalty area.
“He’s a credit to the rest of the players. They should all look at him and if they’d all adopted the same attitude as Ajer then might have made a better fist of it in terms of holding on to the title.”
Celtic star Ajer deserves all the praise going; this season is hurting him more than most
When it comes to categorising which Celtic players care enough about this season, Ajer fits the stereotype of one who maybe wouldn’t be too bothered.
Into the final year of his contract next season, he’s all but gone in the summer. He also doesn’t come from these shores either, so there’s that old argument of foreign players and their commitment compared to homegrown talent.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ajer is as gutted by this as anyone in the Celtic support, and it shows.
In yesterday’s game against Livingston, several times he looked absolutely infuriated. Whether it be a loose pass or a cross across the face of goal that had no takers – he wasn’t happy. He showed real agony and pain when it was clear things weren’t going Celtic’s way.
He’s always in there fighting for the cause too. He’s always in the face of referees if he feels his team is being treated harshly. Always defending his team-mates from aggressive oposition players. Ajer may divide opinion with his ability (and I must admit I don’t understand why), but he’s a class act with his demeanour. The kind of personality you need in your squad and a key reason as to why this club is quadruple treble champions.
If he leaves in the summer, and that feels almost certain, we’ll feel it badly. Very quickly, we’ll know exactly what he had in him once he leaves.