FRANK MCAVENNIE spent a career sizing up soft centre-backs, so he believes he speaks with some authority when he recognises one. And it speaks volumes when the former Parkhead striker says he would be salivating at the prospect of facing up to Kristoffer Ajer and co were he still at the peak of his footballing powers.

McAvennie has taken particular aim at Ajer, a defender he believes doesn’t want to head the ball, and he has criticised the Norwegian for what he sees as his selfish attitude on and off the park this season.

“By all accounts big Ajer has had a great season – well, that’s according to him,” McAvennie said.

“But it’s not about individuals. It’s not about him thinking he’s had a good season, it’s about having a good season as a team, and they back four hasn’t been very good.

“Too many of them have been playing for themselves, rather than for the team.

“You need the likes of Ajer to talk the young lad (Stephen) Welsh through the games. I didn’t like that statement he made about this being his best season. He should be talking about bringing Welsh through, helping him through games. I don’t like the ‘I’m alright Jack’ stuff.

“Ajer might go to a league where there is not much heading the ball. Unfortunately it’s part of football and I’ve never seen a centre half that doesn’t want to head the ball. I can’t work it out. He’s 6ft 5ins and doesn’t want to head it.

“I saw Martin O’Neill talking about it. He had defenders who wanted to go and win the ball. I don’t know what’s going on with the zonal marking either, but if it’s half the battle if you have guys who want to go and win it.

“The defence has been the downside for me this season. Every time Celtic have conceded a corner or free kick you’re thinking it could end up a goal.

“That’s not right. Middle to front they still have decent players but the problems have been at the back.

“Celtic are too nice at the back right now. I wouldn’t mind playing against these defenders when I was at my pomp.”

*Frank McAvennie was speaking to promote coverage of Rangers v Celtic exclusively live on Premier Sports this weekend. Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player. Prices start from £10.99 per month