Albian Ajeti “worked his socks off” for Celtic in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over St Mirren, according to Alex McLeish.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Rangers and Scotland boss insisted the Swiss striker showed “tremendous teamwork” despite not getting on the scoresheet himself in Paisley.
Goals from Tom Rogic, Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and David Turnbull secured all three points and made it three consecutive wins for the Hoops.
Ajeti, who avoided a ban for simulation earlier this week after his SFA charge was dropped, played 68 minutes against the Saints before being replaced by Christie.
McLeish has insisted while supporters and pundits will expect to see goals from the summer signing sooner rather than later, the striker deserved to be commended for his relentless work rate up front.
McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “He worked his socks off and I guess part of Neil’s team talk would: ‘Listen, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing bad, I’d like you to play better and if you play bad, you’re probably not going to get in the next game.’
“The other thing he’ll be emphasising is, ‘if it’s not going for you, you’ve got to work your socks off and you’ve got to chase back, your numbers have got to be up – not running for the sake of running but running with a purpose’.
“Running off the ball, if you lose the ball, what’s your reaction? Are you going to try and win it back right away or just like somebody else do it? That’s not teamwork but Ajeti last night showed tremendous teamwork in his action getting back.
“Okay, he didn’t get on the score sheet, which people will expect him to do and there are goals expected but he did the other thing, which should be a given for every footballer.”
Ajeti, who netted five goals in his opening six league appearances for the Bhoys, has scored just once, in the 4-0 win over Kilmarnock earlier this month, since September.