Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has promised supporters he will not shy away from the physical threat of Aberdeen in this weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final despite being on the receiving end of rough treatment in recent matches, as reported by The Scottish Sun.
The 20-year-old needed stitches after a collision with Rangers man Joe Worrall in last week’s derby before taking an elbow from forward Duckens Nazon during Wednesday night’s win over St Mirren.
Also suffering a head knock against Dundee recently, he’s certainly been through the wars.
The Norwegian is expecting another brutal, physical encounter going up against Sam Cosgrove on Sunday but will continue to put his body on the line to ensure the positive results continue.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the centre-back said:
That will never be a concern for me. When you go up to win these duels you know something can happen. But you always have to go in 100 per cent or you shouldn’t be playing.
As a centre half you have to get used to that kind of stuff. I feel like I am getting strong and I’m developing every day.
I actually got my stitches out on Saturday. They’d been in for a week. The doctors did a fantastic job. But I’ve had enough head knocks this season, so hopefully there are no more to come!
Cosgrove has done really well this season. We know Aberdeen are in great form right now and they will make it really difficult. Of course it will be a battle, but you have to win the physical battle before you earn the right to play.
Ajer has matured into a fine defender this season. Last week’s derby performance was lauded by pundits and supporters after he put himself in the way of every ball that came into the Hoops box.
His emergence as a fan favourite is well timed considering Dedryck Boyata looks set to leave and Filip Benkovic will return to parent club in Leicester City.
Supporters will be expecting the club to sign a partner in the central defensive position but for the moment at least are happy to see Ajer continue to develop in the role.
How do you see this weekend’s semi-final against Aberdeen going? Have your say in the comments below…