Neil Lennon explains why Olivier Ntcham was unhappy and wanted to leave Celtic

By John McGinley

February 3, 2021

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has explained why Olivier Ntcham wanted to leave the club.

Ntcham has joined Marseille on loan until the end of the season. The French side have an option to buy should he impress.

The midfielder sent a goodbye message to Celtic on social media last night, suggesting he has no intention of returning.

Lennon was quizzed about the player on BBC Radio Scotland last night before kick-off. The broadcaster aired the interview at half-time.

The comments provide some insight into why Ntcham wanted to leave.

Lennon told Sportsound (20:40): “It’s not the club that he’s unhappy with. I think it’s just his life in Glasgow.

“He was a bit fed up and indifferent about the Scottish game, and I think he wanted a new challenge, like a few of them have maintained since the start of the season. It’s a difficult thing to claw them back in. He’s a talented player.

“This time last year he was absolutely superb, between January and March. Between then and the lockdown, something got disconnected with Olivier; he couldn’t get that desire or passion back to play.”

Olivier Ntcham Celtic exit best for all parties

Ultimately if a player is that unhappy at the club, it’s the right decision to let him leave. Perhaps they should have let him go sooner.

Ntcham has his own responsibility to take for the way things didn’t work out at Celtic too. He is not blameless.

As Lennon states, he has talent. It’s just a shame for all parties that he never quite managed to show it consistently enough to become a mainstay at Celtic.

Olivier Ntcham in action for Celtic against St Johnstone / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

He’s facing an uphill battle to impress at Marseille too given the drama surrounding Andre Villas-Boas. The manager was none too pleased to see the Frenchman arrive at the club.

Hopefully, though we see the best of Ntcham in Ligue 1, he impresses, Celtic get their money, and we can all move on.

In other news, Celtic fans had great things to say about David Turnbull after last night’s win.