Celtic loanee Olivier Ntcham could start tomorrow, with a caveat

By Euan Davidson

February 13, 2021

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham, on loan at Marseille, may make his league debut tomorrow.

The French midfielder has had an incredibly rough time of it in France so far. Andrés Villas-Boas quit immediately after his arrival in the south of France, while fans have been protesting wildly over recent weeks.

Ntcham had to miss an opportunity to play against his boyhood club, PSG, shortly after making his loan departure from Celtic. This was followed by some frustrating comments from a Bhoys’ perspective, with Jullien suggesting Ntcham had “stagnated” at Celtic.

Marseille encounter their South France rivals Bordeaux in a heated derby tomorrow afternoon. Ntcham may be amongst the starters for the Ligue 1 bout, however L’OM’s interim boss isn’t convinced he can play the whole match [Sport.fr].

Marseille coach Nasser Larguet told assorted press:

“Physically, he’s not yet ready to do 90 minutes.

“He takes his game forward, and he’s a tough guy, he’s going to get the ball in his feet, which is important for a midfielder. But physically, there are still steps to be taken.”

Former Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham warming up for L’OM / (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

Olivier Ntcham joins concerning list

It’s not the first time a Celtic loanee’s fitness has been called into question. Marian Shved has encountered similar issues for KV Mechelen, while Vakoun Issouf Bayo is toiling in France with Toulouse.

It’s a particular worry in terms of how current Celtic players are doing. Ntcham’s last 90 minutes for the Bhoys was during Celtic’s second 4-1 defeat to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.

If he was training with the first team, and there were no signs of an injury, should Olivier Ntcham be so far from finishing a game in its entirety? It suggests that fitness standards under Neil Lennon aren’t what they should be. Given Celtic’s tendency to capitulate late on in matches, it’s something to ponder.

Either way, the Frenchman will hoping to make a more indelible mark in a historic derby match. He’s done the business in Scotland’s biggest clash, after all [BBC].

ELSEWHERE ON 67HAILHAIL: an ex-Celt had a day to remember. A young loanee, not so much.