Olivier Ntcham’s happiness at Celtic has rightfully been questioned all summer.
His comments to L’Equipe about moving to France certainly didn’t go down well with the Celtic support. Even more so considering the fact that he had performed so poorly in the majority of his 37 outings last season.
But Sunday’s 2-0 victory at Ibrox represented a complete 180-degree turn for Ntcham. His performance when he came on midway through the second half was faultless. He continued to help Celtic dominate the midfield battle, and there certainly weren’t any signs of throwing the towel in.
Ntcham has been accused in the past of not looking as though he cares enough. His casual style on the football pitch can certainly give off the wrong impression at times.
But the footage from Ibrox last Sunday showed a player who’s fully committed to the team. He looked like a player who wants to be here and a player who was delighted with his team’s performance too.
And what proves just that? Look at Ntcham’s reaction when Jonny Hayes fires home Celtic’s second at Ibrox. You can watch the goal here.
Ntcham’s happiness was proven at Ibrox
When the ball strikes the net from the Irishman, there’s no laboured jog to the corner from Ntcham. He doesn’t seem to be anything other than absolutely delighted. He’s the first one to grab Hayes after the strike, and it’s clear he’s as delighted as the rest of us.
Then there were the celebrations post-match. Ntcham was right in the heart of that too. He was helping lead the tribute to the supporters, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face (Celtic TV).
To sum up, Ntcham is clearly in a better place than he was in the summer. It might seem petty to point these moments from Sunday out, but they’re an indicator of where Ntcham is at right now. He’s playing with a smile on his face and is back committed to the cause.
The Frenchman still has a long road ahead of him to be a starter every week. Both Callum McGregor and Scott Brown still seem to have a firm grip on both roles. But it’s just great to see Ntcham back enjoying his football again.
He enjoyed Sunday just like the rest of us did. He was extremely animated throughout his appearance, and you can tell Neil Lennon has helped turn his mood around this summer. Whatever was said between the pair of them, it’s having the desired effect so far.