EURO rookie Kristoffer Ajer has told Brendan Rodgers he will be ready to step into the Champions League cauldron at Parkhead on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old Norwegian is poised to answer any emergency calls as the Celtic boss prepares for the second leg of the crucial qualifier against Astana with the tie balanced at 1-1 after last week’s confrontation in Kazakhstan.
Rodgers has been hit by an avalanche of problems with midfielder Nir Bitton now a doubt after the 3-1 loss to Barcelona in Dublin at the weekend.
Erik Sviatchenko, Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata are sidelined with injuries and there must be doubts over the match-fitness of veteran Ivorian Kolo Toure.
Ajer missed the first leg because of a broken bone in his hand, but was a second-half sub against Barca – and has insisted he is ready to help the Hoop’s Champions League cause.
He said: “Before I came to Celtic, I had only played one game as a central defender, I had played mostly in the middle of the park.
“But I have played there now and I am getting more comfortable every time I play there.
“We are struggling with defenders because so many players are injured, so it is a big opportunity for me. Of course, I feel ready. I hope I have shown the manager that I am a player he can trust.
“It is a big game for the club and I would be excited to play my part, if I was asked. I am happy to play anywhere to help the team.”
Ajer has also revealed that he has exchanged text messages with ex-boss Ronny Deila who was in charge at Parkhead when he agreed a pre-contract deal from IK Start in January.
He added: “Ronny has sent me texts to wish me good luck. He told me to enjoy every moment of playing at Celtic Park,
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