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AJER’S CHALLENGE

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KRISTOFFER AJER has explained why he celebrated after making a tackle in the 3-0 win over Hamilton Accies at the weekend.

The Norwegian central defender helped Scott Bain to a third successive shut-out with a superb last-ditch challenge on Steven Boyd with Celtic leading 1-0 at the time.

Ajer said: “The clean sheet was important for us – that’s three since we came back from Dubai.

“Obviously, that’s the main target for us as defenders, but we’ve also scored 10 goals in those games which is really positive.

“I celebrated that tackle, strikers celebrate their goals, so we should be allowed to do that.

“You’re always happy to prevent a goal and I was actually in doubt if I was going to bring him down or not, but, luckily, I made the right decision.

“I also saw quite early the ball was going wide from my tackle, that was a relief.

“There are so many good defenders here I can learn from. It’s a mentality we have in every single training session and the coaches are on at us each day to keep clean sheets.

“So, we bring that into matches and know if everyone is 100 per cent on then there is the possibility to do that every time.

“Clean sheets give you a great opportunity to win although our other main target is to play attractive and entertaining football.”

The international centre-back, who has been playing in place of the injured Dedryck Boyata, added: “Hamilton always make it hard for you. We knew we had to keep our shape and keep playing and we fortunately got the goals.

“You have to say their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves, but it was important we believed in ourselves. Even going in 1-0 up at half-time, the gaffer told us we still had to be patient because we have the quality up front to score.

“The main thing was not to do something different, but stick to what we’re good at. When we play our style of football we create a lot of chances. We have the ability to put them away as well.

“The standard of our opponents has been really good this season and you could see that against Hamilton, as well.”

Callum McGregor fired the champions into a half-time lead with a shot that went through Accies keeper Fulton’s legs before squirming over the line.

Ryan Christie doubled the advantage after another slip by the unfortunate visiting custodian and Scott Sinclair made it three with a close-range header.

Brendan Rodgers’ men, aiming for their eighth successive Premiership crown, are three points ahead of Rangers and Kilmarnock in pole position.

Next up are St Johnstone at Parkhead on Wednesday.

 
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