Kennedy hails Celtic’s impressive Norwegian star

CELTIC coach John Kennedy yesterday praised 19 year old Kristoffer Ajer after the Celtic defender’s impressive international break through over the last week or so.

Ajer starred in an impressive 4-1 over Australia then a 1-0 victory over Albania to introduce himself on the international stage.

And Kennedy, whose own playing career was cruelly cut short in an international friendly, reckons Ajer deserves all the praise that’s coming his way.

“Obviously, he has had a very good season and I think we forget how young he is. He came over from Norway and went out to Kilmarnock on loan to play and improve. He came back, waited for his opportunity and he’s taken it and he’s been excellent for us.

“Kristoffer is on a good run of games and the manager has shown great confidence in him, sticking him in and keeping him in.

“That has led to the international side now which is great for him. It’s a great achievement at his age and it’s thoroughly deserved as he works ever so hard on his game. And he’s only going to improve with games at Celtic and benefit from the international stage.

“He’s a player who gives everything he’s got. He wants to be a top player and do everything he possibly can to get there. When he first came in, his pathway was probably going to play in central defence and he had been a midfielder most of his days.

“He had adjustments to make and he had to go and restart in a way as he was playing in a new position and had to learn new things. To be fair, he rose to the challenge and was willing to go for it. The Kilmarnock move did him the world of good, giving him that experience, putting him in situations where he was forced to defend a lot, make mistakes and learn from them.

“This season, he has obviously developed a great deal. The manager showed the confidence to put him in and when he got the opportunity he took it – and that’s what it’s all about. The players work on their game but they need that opportunity and the manager will give them it when the time is right.

“It’s then up to the player to take that and he’s certainly done that. He’s getting better, game on game, and, hopefully, that keeps going for club and country. You don’t want to put too much pressure on him too soon and build him up to be something he might not become, but he certainly has a lot of attributes.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in him and we see him as one for the future.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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