KRISTOFFER AJER always knew he would have to take a step back to go forward in his career.

The 19-year-old Celtic central defender made his Norway debut in the recent 4-1 win over Australia and he kept the position for the 1-0 victory in Albania a few days later.

Ajer arrived at Parkhead from IK Start as a versatile youngster who could also play midfield and striker, but he now knows his future is at centre-half.

With the likes of Kolo Toure and John Kennedy to help him, Ajer said: “Centre-back has been my position since signing for the club.

“Ever since my first training session, it has been clear the manager and staff felt it was my suited position.

“And I always knew I’d be a centre-back. As a young guy, I felt it was better to play in midfield, develop there and drop back to defence later.

“The last year is when I’ve developed most as a footballer. The six months on loan at Kilmarnock were really beneficial and I have a lot to thank them for.

“At Celtic, Kolo and John were centre-halves, so that has helped. They assist with the positioning and they work with me on heading after training.”

Ajer came back into the first team following the 4-0 collapse against Hearts at Tynecastle and yesterday’s 3-0 win over Ross County was his 18th successive appearance for the top side.

He will almost certainly add to that total when Celtic take on Dundee at Parkhead in midweek.

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