NEIL LENNON could afford to smile after Kristoffer Ajer’s cool 81st-minute winner in the 2-1 triumph over Aberdeen at Pittodrie yesterday.
The Celtic boss was not surprised to see the skyscraper Norwegian international finish a lung-bursting 60-yard run with a lot of composure as Dons No.1 Joe Lewis raced from his line.
Ajer refused to rush his effort – as Jonny Hayes had done seven minutes earlier when he blasted a shot against the keeper – and nonchalantly clipped the ball high into the net.
Lennon, speaking to Sky Sports News, joked: “He doesn’t see himself as a defender- he thinks he’s Franz Beckenbauer.”
The Hoops gaffer was referring to the lavishly-gifted West German World Cup winner who had such a glittering career at club level with Bayern Munich when they won three successive European Cups in the seventies and also as captain of his country.
Speaking of his giant back-four operator, Lennon said: “He’s some player. I think he’s undervalued sometimes.
“He’s been immense since I’ve come in. He’s shown his composure. It was a big moment and he took it brilliantly, but he’s an outstanding footballer all round.
“He doesn’t see himself as a defender – he thinks he’s Franz Beckenbauer at times.
“He’s got good attributes and is cool as a cucumber, so he’s weighed in with an important goal, but the team were great from one to 11 and the subs were good.
“We just need to keep going and not look at other results. We can’t control them, but that’s nine wins in a row and we need to keep that momentum going as long as we can.”
The win in the north east, of course, keeps the champions on course for a record-equalling ninth successive title as they maintained their 10-point advantage over Steven gerrard’s Ibrox outfit who claimed a 1-0 win over Livingston in Glasgow yesterday in their rescheduled game.