Celtic's Albian Ajeti is showing that lack of fitness is no barrier to goalscoring

Striker has netted a goal every 30 minutes since his £4.5 million move from West Ham

Albian Ajeti celebrates his goal in Celtic's 5-0 win over Ross County at the weekend (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Albian Ajeti celebrates his goal in Celtic's 5-0 win over Ross County at the weekend (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

There is no pretence from Albian Ajeti that he is fully fit yet. The fact that the Celtic striker is looking to net for the fourth consecutive league game - and continue a run of a goal every 30 minutes since his £4.5 million move from West Ham last month - tells him that there is a different sort of sharpness he doesn’t require to get up to speed.

“I think if you are in front of the goal you have a chance to score, this is just a quality you have or don’t have,” said the 23-year-old. “It doesn’t matter if you are fit enough or not. I’m sure I’m not, but I’m trying to get there and working hard to get close to 100 per cent.”

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Ajeti is certainly looking 100 per cent a lethal finisher. It makes his goalless season in London, where he hardly played, almost more difficult to fathom for a player who was prodigious for Basel. A surge in contentment is assisting his renaissance.

“Confidence was never a problem of mine. I always had a lot of confidence. Actually, to be fair, after the year I had at West Ham I was just happy to go anywhere and play and Celtic has given me this opportunity. I really appreciate it, and I want to give the best back that I can.

“I didn’t have to prove anything because I didn’t get a lot of chances last year, but I was just happy that I could sign for Celtic. I had good conversations with the gaffer [Neil Lennon], he gave me good confidence, the confidence back I didn't have in West Ham. This is for me important, to have a good relationship with the gaffer and team. That is why I’m very happy to be here. I feel very comfortable and this is then the result of it.

“I am smiling every day. I was smiling every day at West Ham as well, but it’s not the same when you are not playing. Now I’m playing and I am happy and I could not have imagined a better move than to Celtic.”

Ajeti looks as if he can dovetail with Odsonne Eduoard in the way Leigh Griffiths did when Lennon recrafted his team into a 3-5-2 formation. The Swiss forward believes the pair can feed off each other and it looked that way in the 5-0 thumping of Ross County on Saturday.

“The first game we were together was very good,” Ajeti said. “We are training day by day together and the days are getting better also in training. We just need to improve ourselves, our connection, our relationship on the pitch. I can push him, he can push me, we both can just improve each other, so it is a good relationship.”

The push for the top scorer status at Celtic that Eduoard claimed with 28 goals in the abridged season isn’t something that Ajeti will get hung up on, though.

“That is not my main target. There is still a long way to go, but I will try to help the team with scoring goals and I just hope I can score as many as possible. The main target for me was to get back playing and to get all of my confidence back.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.