THERE were no fans in attendance to welcome £5million new Bhoy Albian Ajeti as he made his debut in the 6-0 Champions League qualifying win over KR Reykjavik at Parkhead last night.
The Swiss international striker was introduced to life in the hoops in silence as he came on for Odsonne Edouard in the 71st minute.
Neil Lennon’s men were already coasting five goals ahead after the French ace had added No.5 with some mesmerising footwork and a classy finish just before making way for Ajeti with the manager clearly thinking ahead to a dodgy trip to Tannadice on Sunday to face newly-promoted Dundee United.
The forward, who cost West Ham £8million when he joined 13 months ago, hadn’t kicked a ball for months – and it showed.
On an evening of positives for the champions – and a two-goal Man-of-the-Match performance from Ajeti’s former Basel team-mate Mohamed Elyounoussi – the Hoops boss had every reason to be satisfied.
Reflecting on the 20 minutes’ worth of action from Ajeti, Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It looks like he needed it.
“He’s a little bit down on match fitness and general conditioning, as well, but that will come as we go along.”
There is hard work ahead for the player, but one Celt who is knocking on the door just now for immediate attention is Olivier Ntcham who made his third successive substitute appearance when he replaced skipper Scott Brown in the 62nd minute.
Lennon added: “It was a good night’s work. It was really important to get 90 minutes work into the legs and obviously to negotiate the tie, as well.
“To score six goals and keep a clean sheet is very good. I’m pleased with a lot of what I saw.
“The 10 days off didn’t help and we’ve only had two competitive games up until now when a lot of teams have had four or five, so we’re playing a little bit of catch-up.
“Whether they are completely there yet? There will be some of the squad like Olivier who has only played 20 minutes here and there. We want to get him more game time as we go along.
“Tom Rogic has only had 15 minutes in the last three or four weeks. It was very good for the likes of Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed and the rest of them to get 90 minutes.
“Hopefully, we are over that hump now and we go on. I’m delighted with the result, and I’m delighted with the amount of goals we managed to score.
“Just to get us up and going again and get that match rhythm, that will do the players the world of good.
“These games are sometimes difficult to negotiate, but I think the players will definitely benefit from the work that’s been done and now we look forward to a big couple of weeks.
“Hopefully, that’ll do the world of good for the psychology of the group.”