Few Celtic players have been able to define consistency this season. After all, this is a club that’s currently 23 points behind their fierce rivals in the Premiership table..
Scott Brown has had his moments too, being sent off against Livingston and proving to be one of the worst culprits during their defeat to Sparta Prague away from home earlier in the campaign.
It feels like this Hoops side could do with some fresh energy and we’ve seen that with the likes of Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull, they are beginning to turn the tide. The former has been a massive part of this and Celtic have still only lost once in the league when he’s played.
Though, one Celtic regular who has still been consistent is Kristoffer Ajer. Even when the going gets tough, the defender is a sturdy presence for Neil Lennon. He has typified that most recently, performing well even when Celtic aren’t winning.
Speaking about the Norwegian in the last few weeks, John Hartson said: “He’s grabbing the bull by the horns and he’s almost dragging the team through, even to these draws. You see him making these lung-bursting runs forward, he’s marauding with that big stride, he’s challenging, on his backside, making blocks, in the opposition’s penalty area.”
One of Ajer’s biggest strengths is undoubtedly his versatility. He is capable of playing in central midfield, as a holding player, at centre-back and at full-back too.
Being able to play in such a range of different roles is invaluable to a manager and they could land a player of a similar ilk in the coming months. That’s because the Hoops are in advanced discussions to sign Sheffield Wednesday youngster Liam Shaw on a pre-contract ahead of the summer.
The 19-year-old has broken through at Hillsborough this season and in the process of playing 11 times in the Championship, has already featured both in defence and in midfield.
Shaw is capable of featuring as an out and out central midfielder but also in a holding role – just like Ajer can.
Garry Monk commented in September 2020: “He has got the capability of playing everywhere. I am not 100 per cent sure what is going to be his final position. But what I do know with him is he definitely has the capabilities of playing in midfield and centre-back.”
That couldn’t typify Ajer more, someone who, on the odd occasion, does have a habit of throwing himself into a challenge with his robust defensive style of football.
Once again, that’s similar to Shaw. However, he does have a long way to go in order to mature in the way the Celtic star has.
Speaking about the teenager, former Owls manager Tony Pulis said: “He’s a little bit reckless at times, with that youthful enthusiasm. And we don’t want to stop that. But what we want to do is generated that enthusiasm in the right manner and that wasn’t tonight.”
It’s critical that if Shaw does arrive, Lennon harnesses that young energy as Brendan Rodgers did with Ajer. Signed on a free transfer as a teenager, the deal for Shaw would mirror more than just on-field attributes.
Considering the 6 foot 2 target’s supreme versatility, this has the potential to be a very shrewd acquisition from the club’s hierarchy.