Losing Kristoffer Ajer to injury would be “devastating for Celtic” ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Dons and Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted that the centre-back would be a huge miss for the Bhoys after his performances this term.

Speaking after Thursday’s 2-2 draw against Lille, Neil Lennon confirmed that the 22-year-old was a doubt for Sunday’s cup semi-final after he picked up a groin injury in France.

Ajer has missed just one game for Celtic all season and has started 15 of his 16 appearances so far.

Whelan insists that the Norway international is more than just a good defender for the Hoops and that they would severely miss his presence at the back.

Whelan told Football Insider: “He’s a big miss. When you miss players like that, you’ve got to look to your bench and what you have.

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“He’s a leader at the back, he’s someone that’s been consistent and consistently playing during the start of this campaign.

“A big personality like that will always be missed in the side. On one hand, it’s devastating for Celtic to be missing a player of that quality.

“On the other hand, you look at Aberdeen and they’ll be rubbing their hands together thinking: ‘Okay, this is probably their strongest defender and he might be out of the game.’

“It’s how are they going to compensate that big void that he brings in height, professionalism, consistency in his performances and leadership in the back.” 

In other Celtic news, Alex McLeish claims Lennon being forced to play £4.5million player.