Olivier Ntcham's return shows the quality of this Celtic squad
Olivier Ntcham’s return to action on Saturday demonstrated the depth of quality Celtic have in their ranks.
The midfield swaggered through Celtic’s 3-0 win away to Hamilton in his return from injury.
And getting the Frenchman back to full fitness can only be a good thing for Brendan Rodgers.
Ntcham replaced Tom Rogic on Saturday after the Aussie picked up a knee injury last week. With Callum McGregor playing his new deeper role, Ntcham was given freedom to get forward more often.
The former Man City man’s exquisite range of passing was on show for the crowd to swoon over.
In the first half, Ntcham broke away from his opponent and looked up to see Scott Sinclair tearing through on goal. The midfielder played an outstanding outside of the foot pass which carved the Hamilton defence wide open.
Sinclair’s inability to finish the chance robbed his teammate of a sensational assist.
The young midfielder has come in for some criticism this season, especially in Europe.
However, it can’t be denied that when he’s on his game, he should be among the first names on the team sheet.
His performance against Rangers in September was among his best in a Celtic jersey, perhaps only second to his dominating performance in the 3-2 win at Ibrox in March.
It’s easy to forget that Ntcham is only 22 years of age. He plays with the guile of a seasoned campaigner. But his performance on Saturday reminded everyone that he is one of the best footballers at the club.
Returning at the right time
Ntcham’s return to the team could not come at a better time. Celtic’s busy festive period has just begun and they’ll need all the help they can get.
With the injury crisis loosening its grip on the Celtic squad, Rodgers is close to getting his full compliment back.
With Thursday’s massive tie against Rosenborg looming, Rodgers may look to Ntcham to dominate the game in midfield.
Celtic’s midfield has not missed a beat since Scott Brown and Ntcham went out injured. However, the Frenchman’s guile may be needed to unlock the Rosenborg defence.