Celtic are in a very strong position to reach the group stage of the Europa League after winning last night’s play-off round first leg against AIK.
The Hoops will go to Sweden next week with a 2-0 lead after second-half goals from James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard put them in firm control of the tie. [via BBC]
The teams went in level at half-time after a first half that the home side dominated, only for the cautious approach of their Swedish visitors to thwart them. [via BBC]
Just two minutes after the interval, though, Celtic finally found a route to goal, Forrest’s stinging shot too powerful for AIK goalkeeper Oscar Linner to keep out. [via BBC]
Neil Lennon’s side doubled their lead in the 74th minute thanks to an exquisite free-kick from Edouard, the French striker curling the set-piece over the defensive wall and into the net for 2-0. [via BBC]
Celtic had late opportunities to add to their lead but are still in a commanding position ahead of the second leg next Thursday. [via BBC]
Forrest scored his fifth goal in as many games last night and Edouard also brought his season’s tally to five, but the work of one defender playing out of his usual position deserves recognition as well.
The Norway international did not look at all uncomfortable at right-back, though, and many observers felt that he achieved the perfect balance between defence and attack, getting forward regularly to support the team’s more advanced players while also being solid defensively.
Sourav Mahanty of The Celtic Bhoys said that “the man is a machine“, adding that he was “solid in defence and an ever-present outlet in attack“.
The Scottish Sun‘s David Friel wrote that Ajer “tried to get forward as much as possible with trademark driving runs and gave nothing away at back“.
In the Daily Express, Ben Pringle said that the 21-year-old “looked comfortable defensively and got forward to support Forrest on several occasions“.
Ajer has started all but one game for Celtic so far this season and should be one of the first names on Lennon’s teamsheet for the foreseeable future given the ease with which he can adapt to right-back as well as performing at centre-back.
Celtic fans, how did you rate Ajer’s performance against AIK? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!