Date: 20th September 2019 at 2:11pm
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EXCLUSIVE

Jackie McNamara has tipped Celtic manager Neil Lennon to keep faith in defender Kristoffer Ajer after the centre-back “panicked” against Stade Rennais on Thursday.

The former Celtic and Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that the 21-year-old has been one of the Hoops’ most consistent performers this season but that he had an off day during the Bhoys’ first Europa League group game.

The giant defender, who stands at 6ft 5in tall [Transfermarkt], conceded a penalty against the French outfit on Thursday, tripping M’Baye Niang while also appearing to pull the forward back in the box.

Despite his misdemeanour in France, McNamara insists that Lennon is likely to keep trust in the centre-back and continue to play him in the starting XI after sitting out just two games across all competitions this season.

McNamara told Football Insider: “I think he (Niang) just got away from him (Ajer) and he’s just panicked. He’s gone in with his leg and went to ground and he’s holding on as well.

“He’ll be disappointed with that one. I think Ajer’s been quite consistent from last year to this year. He had a wee knock earlier in the season but I think he’s (Lennon) going to stay with him.” 

The colossal defender has played 13 times across both league and cups this season, featuring as both a centre-back and a makeshift right-back due to a lack of options available to Lennon.

He is closing in on 100 appearances for the Hoops since moving from IK Start in 2016, with three goals under his belt.

In other Celtic news, Alan Hutton has been left raving to Football Insider about one Hoops star who looks “a good prospect” at Parkhead.