If there’s one benchwarmer yesterday who should’ve been taking note of two major John Kennedy decisions, it’s Celtic’s Albian Ajeti.
It looked for a brief period as though Ajeti had worked his way back into the side at the start of the month. A goal in a 4-0 rout of Kilmarnock led to a small run of games under previous boss Neil Lennon. He would start three of our next four matches but failed to find the net or even impress again.
Lennon had already dropped Ajeti again before his departure last week. But he may have been hoping the change of manager could’ve led to reprieve.
Instead, he watched on as interim boss Kennedy snubbed the Swiss for Patryk Klimala. That was decision number one that should have the £5million man on high alert [Sky Sports]. Kennedy would tell BBC Sportsound pre-match yesterday [14/06] that the club had “done a lot of work with him” as he started against Aberdeen.
In the end, he would only manage 22 touches of the football and would be hooked for the final 25 minutes [WhoScored]. Even so, it was a warning from Kennedy to Ajeti. A warning that the Swiss striker hadn’t been showing enough to warrant a start alongside Edouard.
But then the second key decision that will really have concerned Ajeti was still to follow.
Celtic’s Albian Ajeti snubbed for Moi and a formation change
Kennedy opted for Mohamed Elyounoussi to take Klimala’s place. Not because he wanted Moi to play up top with Edouard. But John instead wanted to change the shape. In other words, he would rather have changed the shape than give Ajeti a run-out to help kill the game off.
Celtic started off with a diamond and a strike-pairing. We ended the game with a 4-2-3-1 formation as Moi went out onto the left side whilst Edouard led the line. This didn’t exactly give us any more defensive solidity. It’s not as if the formation change was needed to see out the game.
What we needed were some fresh legs in the final third to reinvigorate our forward-play. That Kennedy believed Elyounoussi and a formation change was his best bet reads grimly for former Basel striker Ajeti.
Ajeti has now only started one of our last four matches. In addition to that, he’s not featured in any of the other three either. He’s simply not doing enough to warrant the trust we put in him this season.
He should be coming away from Parkhead wondering what he can be doing better. Wondering why Kennedy believed what should be our fourth-choice striker had earned a place ahead of him.
Sure, you can point to Leigh Griffiths and question why we aren’t asking the same question of him. There are major concerns for Leigh too, but we know what he can do. There is still a major mystery amongst the Celtic support as to what Ajeti is supposed to bring for a supposed £5m signing.
Yesterday’s decisions from Kennedy must be a real warning sign for him. Ajeti is contracted at Parkhead for the long-term, it’s time for him to start proving why.