By Alan Hutton

16th Sep, 2021 | 8:33am

Pundit delivers bold Ajeti verdict after early Celtic team news pre-Betis

Alan Hutton has insisted Celtic need striker Albian Ajeti to “step up” for the club in coming weeks.

The former Scotland international, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Swiss forward would keep his place in the lineup to face Real Betis in the Europa League.

As quoted yesterday (September 15th) by the Daily Record in his pre-Betis press conference, Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed the trip to Seville had “come too early” for new forward Georgios Giakoumakis – who remains sidelined.

The Australian also praised Ajeti, claiming the striker “improved as the game went on” against Ross County on Saturday.

The Switzerland international is Celtic’s only recognised striking option available for the European clash.

Kyogo Furuhashi’s suffered an injury on international duty with Japan last week.

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Ajeti notched twice in the league clash against Ross County to mark his first start this season for Celtic.

Hutton believes the striker needs to maintain this form in order to justify his hefty price tag.

“The two goals at the weekend will do his confidence the world of good,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“They need someone to step up desperately.

“Ajeti started well in pre-season, was even given the captain’s armband – so he’s definitely been given enough opportunities.

“He now needs to step up and prove why Celtic paid that big-money fee from West Ham.

“His two goals at the weekend will be enough for him to keep his place against Betis.”

Ajeti scored six and assisted three in 20 league games last season as he failed to secure a starting berth.

The forward signed from West Ham last summer for almost £5million.

In other news, this pundit has tipped Celtic to appoint a successor for this key backroom figure.