There are many positives to take from Neil Lennon’s press conference today, but one big sigh of relief to come out of it was the news of Olivier Ntcham’s return date.
Ntcham was a surprising omission from the team on Saturday when the line-ups were announced. There wasn’t much known about why he was sidelined, and it led to concerns regarding whether he would be fit for Copenhagen tomorrow.
Unfortunately, Lennon today confirmed that he would be out at his press conference. Yet, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The Celtic boss stated that Ntcham will be out for “another week”. That means that he’ll miss the game tomorrow and the weekend Scottish Cup clash at St Johnstone.
Whether he misses the trip on March 4th to Livingston remains to be seen. However, the main point is that it isn’t going to be long-term. That’s terrific news with regards to the fixtures we have coming up.
Important fixtures coming up that Ntcham needs to be ready for
Should Celtic progress beyond Copenhagen and into the last-16 of the Europa League, we’ll have fixtures taking place on March 12th and 19th. Having him back for that tie would be monumental to our chances of progression.
We also have a match at Ibrox on Sunday March 15th. That could be the game where the league title is unofficially wrapped up. He has previous when it comes to impressing in Govan, and should be a nailed-on starter for that one.
Ntcham may have been a bit-part player earlier on this season, but not anymore. He’s played 38 games this term for the Hoops, and has started every single league game since the winter break excluding Killie on Sunday (Transfermarkt).
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, we can get away with it. Callum McGregor and Scott Brown can play as holding midfielders with either Tom Rogic or Ryan Christie fitting in as the number 10. But in a 3-5-2 he’s vital. Christie and Rogic don’t have that same effect, and it gives Ntcham the option of dropping deeper or joining in attacking forays.
Lennon stating that he’ll be out for another week isn’t ideal, but it could’ve been a lot worse. Out of everything he said today, that’s one of the biggest reliefs.
How vital is Olivier Ntcham to the Celtic cause? Would you have him in your team every week? Give us your thoughts on who replaces him tomorrow in our discussion forum.