JOHN KENNEDY has slammed Norway boss Stale Solbakken for being “disrespectful” towards Celtic.

The Parkhead interim boss, who saw the holders overcome Falkirk 3-0 in the Scottish Cup third round tie yesterday, was unhappy with comments made relating to Kristoffer Ajer, as CQN reported 14 days ago.

Solbakken, who only took over as his country’s gaffer in December, urged the 22-year-old centre-back to quit the Hoops to further his career.

He said: “Kristoffer has to change the league now, he must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life.

“Therefore, I think he has got some habits, which you do not notice until he meets better opposition at international level or Europe. So, I think it would be a smart move for him.”

The remarks left Kennedy fuming as Ajer prepares to go into the final year of his contract after being at the centre of speculation throughout the season with AC Milan continually mentioned.

Kennedy, who has made it clear he wants the skyscraper defender to remain at Parkhead, hit back at the ill-considered observations and said: “I thought it was disrespectful to both the league and the club.

“We are a massive club in our own right who compete in Europe every season. To come out with such a strong statement about what a player must do, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.

“It’s not his position to say that. If he wanted to have a private conversation with Kris over that, fine.

“But I certainly don’t think he should be coming out publicly and telling a player what he should or shouldn’t do.

“Especially when you play at a club like Celtic. Anybody who has been at Celtic will have realised the size of it the minute they stepped through the door.

“The magnitude of it, the fan base and the expectation.”

Kennedy, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “We have had a huge part in Kris’s career to date and how he has developed into the player he is.

“There’s no doubt there will be interest in Kris because of his profile, his age and where he is at.

“But I found the statement and the comments disrespectful towards ourselves.”

Ajer’s form at the start of an ill-fated campaign was patchy, but he has picked up and put in a strong performance in the victory over the League One leaders yesterday with some mazy runs from the back.

To be fair to the player, he has made no comment on transfer speculation and hasn’t rocked the boat.

Manager-in-waiting Eddie Howe may have plans for the international ace who has been at Celtic for five years after joining from FK Start as a teenager for £750,000.


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