CELTIC new Bhoy Albian Ajeti thanked Neil Lennon after he scored the late winner against Dundee United at Tannadice last night.
The £5million Swiss striker pounced in the 83rd minute to rifle in the points-clincher to seal a crucial 1-0 victory against stubborn opponents who rarely ventured out of their own half.
Vasilis Barkas had to wait until the 68th minute to make a save when he dealt capably with a rasping drive from Jamie Robson, but, apart from that brief moment of menace, he could have watched the game from the stand.
It was down to Ajeti to make a dream Premiership debut after coming on as a substitute for Olivier Ntcham in the 74th minute as Lennon’s men searched for a breakthrough goal.
With the clock ticking down, Ryan Christie, who wasn’t afraid to have a pop at Benjamin Siegrist’s goal throughout the encounter, had a long-range effort punched into the air by the keeper.
Ajeti kept the ball alive with a header at the back post, but it looked as though the chance had gone when Odsonne Edouard was crowded out yet again by a posse of Tayside defenders.
However, the ball broke to the Swiss international and he wasted no time in slamming a drive through the packed defence into the net.
Persistent manager Lennon kept in close contact with Ajeti for weeks to ensure the former West Ham frontman joined him in the team’s bid for a historic tenth successive title.
And the player, who rarely got a look-in at the London club after arriving last summer in an £8million switch from Basel, insisted his confidence in front of goal stemmed from that belief shown by the boss.
Ajeti, who made a cameo appearance in the 6-0 midweek Champions League first round qualifying victory over KR Reykjavik, told Sky Sports News: “First of all, it was a very tough game, I’m happy we can take three points back home.
“I’ve scored my first goal for Celtic which makes me very happy actually, but great compliments to the team, it was not easy to play here away, but we did it very well.”I think the gaffer knows the quality of everyone in this team and it was just a matter of time when the first goal happened.
“I’m happy I could help the team in this difficult moment.
“I think all of them have the confidence of a champion. They put so much effort day by day in training, week by week in game and I’m just trying to conduct myself for the team and I’m doing it day by day.
“I came with a lot of confidence because of the gaffer Neil Lennon, he talked so many times to me and I think there is not much more to say about the confidence when the gaffer wants you.”