Alan Hutton has admitted his heart goes out to Albian Ajeti after being axed from the Celtic starting XI versus Sparta Prague.
The former Rangers and Scotland full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admitted the summer signing has struggled to cope with pressure of playing for the Hoops since his arrival from West Ham.
The 23-year-old, who started against Hibernian last weekend, was dropped to the bench and left as an unused substitute for the Hoops’ 4-1 defeat on Thursday.
Odsonne Edouard took the Swiss striker’s place in the line-up and rewarded Neil Lennon’s faith by scoring the opening goal after just 15 minutes, although he was starved of service for much of the game.
Hutton has suggested Ajeti will have seen a move to Celtic as a chance to boost his confidence in a title-winning team but admitted the Bhoys’ recent displays will have not helped his cause at all.
Hutton told Football Insider: “It’s difficult as a striker when the team is not playing well, they’re not creating chances and you’re getting beat, I can imagine it to be difficult for a striker, because all the pressure then lands on their feet: ‘You need to score the goals for us to win the game’.
“He can’t get any momentum, where in a fully firing Celtic team the strikers get probably 10 chances a game but that’s dried up all of a sudden because they’re not performing to their best so I do feel for him.
“He’s coming into a team this season where he’s thought: ‘Right, I’ll go up there, score a lot of goals, win leagues, win cups,’ and it’ll be ideal for him but it’s just not happened.
“I can’t quite put my finger on Celtic this year, it just seems that every game that they go into, they’re going to struggle at the moment.”
Ajeti netted five goals in his first six Premiership appearances but he has not found the back of the net since the end of September.
He has started the Hoops’ last three league games but now has the returning Edouard and Leigh Griffiths for competition up front.
In other Celtic news, Football Insider has delivered a huge update on Hoops bid to sign English defender.