A GROGGY Kristoffer Ajer had to be helped off the pitch after a sickening clash of heads in the goalless draw against Livingston this afternoon.
And the Norwegian international centre-half now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken eye socket following an accidental mid-air collision with the home side’s defender Craig Halkett.
Ajer collapsed in agony in the 72nd-minute as he attempted to get up at the far post to keep the pressure on the Livi goal as the Hoops chased the breakthrough strike.
It was obvious he would not be able to carry on and Brendan Rodgers immediately sent on substitute Filip Benkovic to line up alongside Dedryck Boyata in the heart of the rearguard.
Ajer’s face was swollen and he was in distress as he was supported by the Hoops medical team as he made his way round the pitch as he headed for the dressing room and further examination.
Rodgers has revealed the 20-year-old is likely to require surgery to repair the damage.
He said: “He has a broken eye socket, so it’s a really sore one and he’s in a lot of pain. He’s probably going to need surgery which is a shame for him.”
Ajer joins the injury list at the champions which includes skipper Scott Brown, midfielder Olivier Ntcham and striker Leigh Griffiths, among others.
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who missed today’s encounter with Scott Bain deputising, is also struggling after sustaining an injury in the 2-1 Europa League Group B win over RB Leipzig on Thursday.
The Hoops gaffer admitted the shotstopper is unlikely to be fit for Scotland’s Nations League double-header against Albania on Saturday and Israel a week on Tuesday.
Rodgers added: “He picked up an injury during the week with his knee and his hip, so I very much doubt he will be fit.
“I think we will get a few back. The guys who have been out for a little while like Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham will hopefully be back and let us increase the squad again.”