Ajer stars despite Celtic’s Europa exit

FIFSeasonReviewBanner

He missed their best chance to score in the Mestalla but tonight Kris Ajer came of age as a
Celtic player.

After 62 minutes he rose perfectly to meet a Ryan Christie free kick from the right but got too much on his header when simply glancing it would have opened the tie right up.

Eight minutes later Kevin Gameiro scored the only goal of the game but when the final whistle blew there wasn’t a failure in the Celtic side.

The travelling support witnessed tame performances away to RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig in the group phase but against overwhelming odds, increased by the 37th minute sending off of Jeremy Toljan, the Bhoys stood up to be counted.

The 6 foot 5 youngster started off on the right of a back three and played the role with great discipline. When Toljan walked he had to go out to right-back and barely gave the Spanish side a look in.

The 20-year-old was disciplined and determined as Valencia tried to flood the flanks to find a way to goal. Ajer was well backed by his defensive team-mates as Celtic stood their ground until they were cut open for Gameiro’s goal.

His header just past the hour mark will obviously be remembered but in one of the toughest venues in the Europa League Brendan Rodgers got a glimpse of a future central defence without Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata.

Here’s what Celtic fans have been saying on Twitter…