Kris Commons has strongly criticised wantaway Celtic duo Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer, arguing that the club ought to have sold the ‘demotivated’ pair last summer.
The Hoops’ dismal season took yet another wretched turn on Sunday as they were thumped 4-1 by arch-rivals Rangers at Ibrox. With two games to go, they trail Steven Gerrard’s side by 23 points in the Premiership.
How did Edouard and Ajer play against Rangers?
Edouard equalised for Celtic in the first half with a header from close range, before Alfredo Morelos swiftly restored Rangers’ lead. Two further goals in the second half compounded the misery for John Kennedy’s side.
Daily Record journalist Gordon Parks awarded Edouard a team-high rating of seven out of 10 for his performance, writing that his ‘appetite for the occasion wasn’t in question’ and that he ‘refused to give up the ghost despite being drip served decent service’.
Ajer is also reported to have his eyes on the exit door. The centre-half provided a knock-down assist for Edouard’s goal but Parks accused him of ‘dereliction in duty’ after he ducked out of the way of Morelos’ subsequent shot.
What did Commons have to say about Edouard and Ajer?
Former Celtic player Commons wrote that ‘an improvement in the attitude and performances’ of Edouard and Ajer was expected after Lennon’s departure, adding that Celtic’s ‘unhealthy obsession’ with winning 10 titles in a row has led to them retaining players who ‘felt like they were doing a Celtic a favour’.
“The problem lies squarely with these players who have their own agendas and prioritised them ahead of the club,” he wrote in the Daily Mail print edition, via Daily Record.
“The unhealthy obsession with 10 In A Row is at the heart of it.
“Celtic felt compelled to hold onto a select few players who were already plotting their own exit.
“They should never have entertained the idea of having to coax these players into giving the club ‘one more year’.
“As soon as a player expresses a desire to leave, as Lennon made clear after the Ferencvaros game last August, the club should be phoning them a taxi to the airport.
“These players felt like they were doing a Celtic favour by hanging around.
“They have lost all motivation and it has been the club and the supporters who have suffered for it.”
Transfer Tavern verdict
There’s an added layer here in that Celtic have also allowed both players name-checked by Commons to reach the final year of their respective contracts. That means they won’t be able to maximise the fees for £13.5m-rated Edouard and £3.6m-rated Ajer.
That could make the task of replacing them with players of similar quality all the more difficult. Commons may have a point in wondering whether their hearts are truly in it at Celtic, but the practicality of sorting their futures seems trickier than the theory.
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