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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 1°C
PA Albian Ajeti (file pic).
# rebuttal
Celtic star insists he is not a diver
Albian Ajeti was accused of causing referee Kevin Clancy to wrongly award the Hoops a spot-kick against Kilmarnock.

CELTIC STRIKER Albian Ajeti insists he is no diver after being cleared of a simulation charge earlier this week.

The Switzerland international was accused of causing referee Kevin Clancy to wrongly award the Hoops a spot-kick during their 4-0 Scottish Premiership victory at Rugby Park last week and potentially faced a two-match ban.

Ajeti tumbled to the ground inside the penalty area early in the second half when Kilmarnock goalkeeper Colin Doyle came out to challenge him.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon vigorously defended his player amidst debate on the incident and the charge of simulation was found “not proved” during a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

Ajeti, 23, was a “bit surprised” to be cited in the first instance and in a Zoom press conference refuted any suggestions that he is a diver.

He said: “There are many things that footballers hear about which is not true. But this is part of football, part of our profession. We have to accept it.

“They can call us whatever they want because we know what is going on, on the pitch. If they want to call me that, they can call me that but it isn’t true.

“People who know my kind of football know that I like the body contact.

“I am quite an aggressive player so I don’t think I am a proper diver because I like the body contact and my football is a bit harder than just to dive for a little contact.

“I didn’t know about the process and how it works but now I know.

“I am happy they took the right decision and I am happy I didn’t get a ban for that.”

Celtic’s convincing 4-0 victory at St Mirren on Wednesday night meant the Hoops have won three games in a row for the first time this year to sit 18 points behind league leaders Rangers with a game in hand, as they prepare to face St Johnstone in Perth on Sunday.

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Ajeti, who has teamed up with Odsonne Edouard in the last three matches, insists renewed team spirit has underpinned the return to form.

He said: “It is going good for us, we are winning games and playing good football.

“I am always happy when I can play and even more happy when we succeed as a team, this is the most important thing for me.

“We are in good form right now and we are going to build on that and push forward.

“I think we stick together more than ever.

“We know we have the quality, we found a very good team spirit and we want to build on that.”

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Press Association
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