Alex McLeish admits he was shocked by Kristoffer Ajer’s poor performance for Celtic against Aberdeen on Sunday.
The former Dons defender and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists the 22-year-old did not live up to his usual high expectations during the pulsating 3-3 draw at Pittodrie.
Two Lewis Ferguson penalties helped Aberdeen seal a draw against the reigning Premiership champions, with Ryan Hedges the other scorer for the home side.
The 25-year-old winger bundled the ball over the line after Scott Bain parried a shot from Sam Cosgrove.
McLeish admits he was surprised at how easy the Aberdeen striker was able to get away from Ajer to get an effort on goal and that the defender needs to up his game moving forward.
McLeish told Football Insider: “The defence has been got at more than we’ve seen in recent times, whether that’s due to the people in front of the defence or the defenders making basic mistakes.
“Ajer, who’s been linked with Italian clubs, he’s looked a really top-class player – Celtic have had some great players in the recent past, Virgil van Dijk for instance – so Ajer will be aware that his form has dipped a wee bit.
“Listen, I was a centre-half as well and I always analysed my mistakes, I’m not saying he makes mistakes galore but he’s a leader and he’s expected to be almost 100 per cent perfect in every game.
“It was so unlike him to allow Cosgrove to step off him, when he didn’t get tight enough and Cosgrove getting his shot away. That surprised me so there’s got to be an uplift in everybody’s form.”
In other Celtic news, Football Insider have made a £22.5million Parkhead reveal ahead of January.