Celtic's Albian Ajeti is showing that lack of fitness is no barrier to goalscoring
Striker has netted a goal every 30 minutes since his £4.5 million move from West Ham
There is no pretence from Albian Ajeti that he is fully fit yet. The fact that the Celtic striker is looking to net for the fourth consecutive league game - and continue a run of a goal every 30 minutes since his £4.5 million move from West Ham last month - tells him that there is a different sort of sharpness he doesn’t require to get up to speed.
“I think if you are in front of the goal you have a chance to score, this is just a quality you have or don’t have,” said the 23-year-old. “It doesn’t matter if you are fit enough or not. I’m sure I’m not, but I’m trying to get there and working hard to get close to 100 per cent.”
Ajeti is certainly looking 100 per cent a lethal finisher. It makes his goalless season in London, where he hardly played, almost more difficult to fathom for a player who was prodigious for Basel. A surge in contentment is assisting his renaissance.
“Confidence was never a problem of mine. I always had a lot of confidence. Actually, to be fair, after the year I had at West Ham I was just happy to go anywhere and play and Celtic has given me this opportunity. I really appreciate it, and I want to give the best back that I can.
“I didn’t have to prove anything because I didn’t get a lot of chances last year, but I was just happy that I could sign for Celtic. I had good conversations with the gaffer [Neil Lennon], he gave me good confidence, the confidence back I didn't have in West Ham. This is for me important, to have a good relationship with the gaffer and team. That is why I’m very happy to be here. I feel very comfortable and this is then the result of it.
“I am smiling every day. I was smiling every day at West Ham as well, but it’s not the same when you are not playing. Now I’m playing and I am happy and I could not have imagined a better move than to Celtic.”
Ajeti looks as if he can dovetail with Odsonne Eduoard in the way Leigh Griffiths did when Lennon recrafted his team into a 3-5-2 formation. The Swiss forward believes the pair can feed off each other and it looked that way in the 5-0 thumping of Ross County on Saturday.
“The first game we were together was very good,” Ajeti said. “We are training day by day together and the days are getting better also in training. We just need to improve ourselves, our connection, our relationship on the pitch. I can push him, he can push me, we both can just improve each other, so it is a good relationship.”
The push for the top scorer status at Celtic that Eduoard claimed with 28 goals in the abridged season isn’t something that Ajeti will get hung up on, though.
“That is not my main target. There is still a long way to go, but I will try to help the team with scoring goals and I just hope I can score as many as possible. The main target for me was to get back playing and to get all of my confidence back.”
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