Neil Lennon believes Olivier Ntcham is now happy at Celtic

By David Walton

November 28, 2019

Neil Lennon believes that Olivier Ntcham’s mindset has changed and has he stated he’s happy at Parkhead.

Ntcham made comments to L’Equipe in the summer about leaving to join Marseille. Ntcham believed that he had outgrown Scottish football despite not having a great campaign last season.

Crunch talks between the Frenchman and Lenny were had. Since then, everything has looked rosy in the park. Ntcham hasn’t thrown the huff and has gone on to make 20 appearances this season, a stat that emphasises the trust Lennon still has in him (Transfermarkt).

Olivier Ntcham seems to have moved on from his summer frustrations (Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images)

And speaking in the Herald, the Celtic boss believes that Ntcham no longer seems to have his eye on the exit door.

“The goal in Rome may have changed his whole outlook on things. He is happy to be a part of it. I saw a difference in him even before Rome. We had a chat about his comments earlier in the season, whether they were misconstrued, there may have been some truth in them.

“But he has really settled down now and he is training very well. He has played brilliantly in the games he has played. He’s been unfortunate not to play more often, that’s just down to the quality of the rest.

“The way he is seeing things now, he might feel ‘why shouldn’t I stay here?’. Because things are going well. We’ve beaten Lazio away from home and he played a huge part in that. Maybe the grass isn’t always greener and he can fulfil a lot of things at Celtic for whatever length of time he is here.”

Ntcham has looked happy in Glasgow for a while

When you look at Ntcham’s demeanour these days, he doesn’t look like a player who’s been frustrated. He also doesn’t look like a player who wants to leave Parkhead anytime soon.

Neil Lennon hopes Ntcham’s Lazio goal helps his confidence (Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images)

Whatever his mindset was over the summer, it’s clear he’s put that to one side for now. His focus seems to fully be on Celtic, and he’s playing with a smile on his face once again.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll want to stick around for the long-term. Ntcham may very well just be trying to be more professional before the January or summer window. Whatever was said in those talks with the manager, it’s clear from Lennon’s comments that not everything was misconstrued in his L’Equipe story.

However, what’s also vital to remember is that this isn’t a player that’s out of contract anytime soon. Ntcham signed a new four-year deal only 12 months ago (CelticFC.net).

Ntcham’s focus must be on building his reputation and helping the team (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s not a case of if any offer comes in then Celtic have to snap the hand off. We’re the ones who hold the aces here, and it’s important to stick to our valuation if someone does come in.

Fortunately, it looks as though Ntcham is a changed man in any case. He finally looks happier on the pitch, and he’ll feel he’s been making a valuable contribution recently. Any talk of an exit has firmly been shelved.