CELTIC left it late, but super-sub Albian Ajeti rode to the rescue with an 83rd minute strike to clinch a vital three points for the champions against Dundee United on Saturday night.

Here are five talking points from a tough evening at Tannadice...


Ajeti arrived at Celtic with an impressive goalscoring pedigree from his time at Basel, and it seems he has lost none of his attacking instincts despite a difficult spell at West Ham last season.

He may not have had a lot of game-time lately, but Ajeti looked pretty sharp when he came on as a substitute here as Celtic toiled to make the breakthrough despite their dominance against a stuffy United side.

He was the quickest on the scene as the ball bounced loose in the box following a Benjamin Seigrist save from Ryan Christie’s shot, keeping his cool to slam home through a sea of bodies with just seven minutes remaining.

Yes, he is still short of match fitness, but he showed enough here to suggest he might be a real threat when he is up to full speed, his predatory instincts offering a different option to the guile and craft of Edouard.


What may be even more heartening for Celtic supporters is that the arrival of Ajeti opens up the possibility that Neil Lennon may once again revert to the 3-5-2 formation that worked so well in the second half of last season.

With Leigh Griffiths missing at the moment and Patryk Klimala still not trusted to start, Lennon has recently set his team out in the 4-2-3-1 formation he also favours, with Odsonne Edouard alone in attack.

That he was able to bring on Ajeti and switch things up to win the match here will be hugely pleasing for the Celtic manager, giving his team the other string to its bow that it has perhaps been missing so far in the early stages of the season.


That Celtic were able to bring Elyounoussi back to the club in the summer was seen as a major coup by both manager and supporters alike, such was the impact of the on-loan Southampton man last season despite some troublesome injuries.

Now free of those issues, big things were expected of Elyounoussi at the start of this season, but he has yet to really hit his straps on domestic duty despite an impressive performance in the Champions League qualifying rout of KR Reykjavik last midweek.

It’s not that he is playing badly, but he has yet to provide the magic to unlock defences in games when Celtic are struggling to break teams down, such as the draw at Rugby Park or here at Tannadice.

He was quiet here, and it was no surprise to see Elyounoussi replaced midway through the second half, with James Forrest coming on and impressing after surprisingly being left out of the starting line-up.


Sticking to the theme, Celtic seem to still be looking for the right chemistry in behind the frontline, with Lennon mixing things up at Tannadice as Olivier Ntcham came into the side and Forrest dropped to the bench.

The move saw Christie drift over to the right, where he was able to pick up all sorts of space and rain shots down on Siegrist in the United goal as he cut inside, but the width that Forrest normally provides was absent.

Had Christie been able to take one or two of his numerous opportunities then the changes would have been deemed to have been successful, but as it was, there were still plenty of question marks around who the best personnel for the midfield actually is.

Tom Rogic looks set to leave the club, but a move for Motherwell midfielder David Turnbull may see the midfield options bolstered again, so Lennon faces something of a pleasant headache in finding the right mix week-to-week in the centre of the park as well as keeping all of those players happy.


Since coming back up to the Premiership, United have adopted a safety-first approach, perhaps understandably given they have had to make that step up without talisman Lawrence Shankland, who is still missing through injury.

That philosophy has served them well with two wins, a draw and now a second defeat in their five league games so far, and their organisation and desire to defend their goal took them to within just seven minutes of another very decent result here.

It helped of course that they had the outstanding Siegrist in goals, but the two experienced centre-backs in front of him are just as pivotal to the United cause. Both Mark Connolly and Mark Reynolds performed well here, cajoling and organising their younger teammates, and partaking in some rather uncompromising defending when the occasion demanded.

Certainly, the winners of last season’s Championship have shown they will be no soft touch now that they are back among the big boys.