Olivier Ntcham’s career has just been given a massive shot in the arm in Lazio tonight.
The Frenchman scored one of the most emotional goals in Celtic history at the Stadio Olimpico. Celtic secured a historical result as they overcame Lazio 2-1 away from home.
Ciro Immobile opened the scoring for the Serie A side early on. From there on it looked as though it was going to be a long night until Celtic grew into the game and equalised through James Forrest.
So it was all about protecting the point, wasn’t it? Nope. Step up Olivier Ntcham to dink home arguably the most important goal he’ll ever bag for Celtic.
And it all came after coming on to add some fresh legs for the final 15 minutes or so too. Ntcham started the game on the bench, as he has done for each of our last three matches including tonight.
Indeed, Ntcham’s last outing actually came against St Mirren in a 21-minute cameo. But it’s fair to say he’s been playing third-fiddle to Callum McGregor and Scott Brown.
Ntcham has made the mark he needed to make
Tonight, his Celtic legacy has been laid. If he doesn’t do anything else for the club, he would be remembered for that iconic goal alone. A goal that nobody else in Celtic history has been able to score – a winner in Italy.
And, amid all the excitement, we’ve actually only gone and qualified for the last-32. Celtic will progress, although whether they do so as group winners remains to be seen.
Ntcham, a player who has so often been an afterthought this season, came up with the goods to give his Celtic career that injection of life it needed.
He’ll now be the hot name on supporters’ lips. The man who has gathered so much affection that it’s bound to lead to him being touted for starting appearances.
Motherwell are up next at Celtic Park this Sunday. When Ntcham’s name gets read out, it’ll get rapturous applause and cheers to go with it. And, considering how big a goal this is for Neil Lennon personally, it could easily fire him into the manager’s thoughts down to sheer gratitude alone.
Ntcham’s career here looked to be stumbling along with no real big opportunities in sight. Tonight, he’s changed all of that.