Albian Ajeti is presenting a strong case to Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou

By Euan Davidson

July 10, 2021

Yes, it’s only pre-season, but that’s 2 in 2 for Swiss striker Albian Ajeti, as Celtic ramp up preparations under Ange Postecoglou.

Much was made of the new boss giving Ajeti the armband against Sheffield Wednesday. Chris Sutton endorsed the decision, and it’s not hard to see why. On Wednesday, he looked hungry, motivated and confident, taking his goal well.

McGregor might’ve taken captaincy duties, but it was a repeat performance in every respect from the striker. And on current form, you wouldn’t necessarily bet against him starting against FC Midtjylland.

It’s either overstated or not said enough; last season was weird. It was bizarre in so many different respects that it’s hard to know where to start. In terms of Ajeti, though, it was particularly surreal. He started brightly under Neil Lennon, scored regularly and then… nothing.

Despite spending £4.5m on him [BBC], the former boss seemed to have incredibly little faith in his new striker. In every respect, Ajeti looked off the pace, out of shape and out of favour.

I’m struggling to remember another time when a multi-million pound striker was so quickly discarded by Celtic. Oh yeah – Klimala. That’s a very different story.

Against Charlton, Ajeti led the line with vigour. His excellent headed goal put the Bhoys two up and saw us through. Able to press high up the park and win possession in advanced areas, he seems – if not tailor-made – suited to what Postecoglou is trying to do at Celtic.

Albian Ajeti making a strong Celtic case

It’s not just finishing goals, or making tackles, though. Despite playing so little in 20-21’s latter half, he seems really connected to the players around him. His vision is excellent, and he’s happy to drop deeper if it means an inside run from a winger, or for marauding midfielders.

That’s going to help his case. While we know he can be prolific, as cynical as it might sound, that’s not necessarily enough for a Celtic striker. If that sounds bizarre, it probably is, but we demand a lot from our forward players.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But the minimum is that they score goals. And although it’s not the standard of opposition we have to get used to, every strike counts for something. Able to rid himself of his marker with ease over the last two games, the Swiss striker has scored two excellent goals. Today, he rose high to meet a fantastic cross, and that wasn’t the type of goal we saw a lot of last season.

While we don’t know what Edouard’s immediate future holds, it makes sense to keep starting Albian Ajeti for Celtic. While nobody’s getting carried away, least of all Ajeti, you’d hope, we need to exploit match sharpness where we can.

We’ll get more joy in European qualifiers from players who look and play with the requisite energy and match fitness. That stands to reason. And it’s not to say Edouard isn’t the better player – he is – he just doesn’t seem nearly as ready for competitive appearances as Ajeti does, from a fitness standpoint.

In terms of what Postecoglou wants to do, and on current form, Ajeti is presenting an excellent case for inclusion in the vital meetings against FC Midtjylland.

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