Brendan Rodgers is considering giving Kristoffer Ajer his first ever Celtic start in tonight’s clash with Rosenborg.
A year ago the teenage Norwegian was given a brief taste of top team football when he came off the bench for a run out against Lincoln Red Imps with the tie in the bag.
A third round first leg qualifier is an entirely different matter with the essence of Celtic’s season hanging on reaching the Champions League.
Since Ajer returned from a loan stint at Kilmarnock three key events have taken place before an injury to Erik Sviatchenko pushed him into the Champions League firing line.
a) Eoghan O’Connell left for Bury
b) Kolo Toure’s contract expired with no new deal in place
c) Dedryck Boyata was ruled out for three months after picking up an ankle injury in the pre-season friendly against Slavia Prague
Rodgers could revert to a back three as he did last week against Linfield but looks ready to start Ajer if Sviatchenko fails to recover.
A run of 16 matches on loan at Kilmarnock accelerated his development at centre half after he arrived from IK Start after 47 matches as a central midfielder.
His familiarity with Norwegian football takes away part of the mystery of tonight’s match, if he can handle the pressure of a Champions League clash Ajer may have played his way into Brendan Rodgers’ top team plans for the season ahead.