Impressive Celtic debut suggests Brendan Rodgers has struck gold with Kristoffer Ajer

Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic applauds the fans at the end of the match during the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Third Round,First Leg match between Celtic and Rosenborg at Celtic...

Kristoffer Ajer impressed on loan at Kilmarnock last season and continued where he left off with Celtic against Rosenborg.

There aren’t too many reasons for Celtic fans to be positive about their goalless home draw with Rosenborg in the first-leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

In the absence of the injured Moussa Dembele and the suspended Leigh Griffiths, banned for apparently taunting Linfield supporters during the previous round, The Bhoys lacked cutting edge against their Norwegian visitors at Parkhead.

Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic applauds the fans at the end of the match during the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Third Round,First Leg match between Celtic and Rosenborg at Celtic...

Playmaker Tom Rogic toiled in an unfamiliar centre-forward position though at least Celtic can take some solace in knowing that Rosenborg did not leave with a potentially priceless away goal.

However, at least Brendan Rodgers can take some positives from the performance of teenage centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, making his first competitive appearance for the Scottish champions.

Rodgers has made clear that the 19-year-old, brought to Celtic from Norwegian club Start in January 2016, would be given an opportunity in his first-team squad this season. He even told the versatile youngster that he sees him as a centre-back and used him accordingly against Rosenborg on Wednesday night.

And Ajer did everything you would want from a young centre-back making a nerve-shredding debut in a crucial encounter. Bar one or two shaky moments, he was composed and solid throughout, getting the better of marquee Rosenborg forward Niklas Bendtner.

Furthermore, his distribution from the back certainly caught the eye. In Rodgers’ Celtic side, renowned for playing out and keeping possession where possible, Ajer appears a natural fit.

Lyon's forward Houssem Aouar (R) vies with Celtic's defender Kristoffer Ajer during the pre-season friendly football match between Glasgow Celtic and Olympique Lyonnais at Celtic Park in...

Rodgers, a former youth-team coach at Chelsea, has shown throughout his coaching career that he has no qualms about giving young players a chance to shine.

And, based on an impressive first outing, Celtic fans should expect to see Ajer become a regular fixture at the heart of their backline.

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