Olivier Ntcham's Celtic honour seemed unlikely in the summer

By John Reid

December 12, 2019

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham is set to be given an honour by Hoops boss Neil Lennon. Lennon has confirmed that the Frenchman will captain the Hoops in their Europa League game against Cluj on Thursday.

“Olivier Ntcham will be captain, I’m really pleased with his attitude and the way he’s training” Lennon said, as reported by the Herald.

Hasn’t been a regular starter this season

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

This will be a boost for the player, who provided one of Celtic’s best moments of the season with his injury time winner over Lazio in Rome. Despite that goal, he has not been a regular starter for the Hoops. For example, he didn’t feature in the Betfred Cup Final win over Rangers.

However, it is still an accolade for the player to captain Celtic, and it is a development that would have seemed unthinkable back in July.

That is when Ntcham seemed adamant about leaving Celtic. He said, as reported by the Herald that ‘leaving is the best solution for my development’ and found Marseille’s interest ‘flattering’.

However, the player did not end up leaving, and instead has helped Celtic go on a run of 12 victories in a row in all competitions.

Has chance to show that he should be starting most weeks

(Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ntcham will have a chance against Cluj to show Neil Lennon that he should be in the Hoops starting line-up more frequently.

This game will be a chance for the fringe players, and although Ntcham features far more often than some players in the squad, he still doesn’t start every game for the Hoops.

That could change if Ntcham helps the Hoops pull off a fifth successive Europa League group stage win in Romania. He is more than capable of grabbing a game by the scruff of the neck and dictating how a match goes. Hopefully he gets the chance to do that and end Celtic’s group stage campaign with a flourish.