Neil Lennon must consider Olivier Ntcham selection for Celtic-Reykjavik clash

By John Reid

August 16, 2020

When was the last time that Celtic captain Scott Brown was left out of a big Hoops game for tactical reasons? A very long time ago.

He has been a mainstay for the Hoops for years. The man who has made Celtic tick in the winning of nine titles in a row.

However, it has to be said that Brown has struggled so far this season. He didn’t impress against either Hamilton or Kilmarnock.

Replaced as Hoops looked for late winner

Indeed, he was taken off against Kilmarnock and replaced by Olivier Ntcham as the Hoops looked for a late winner in the 1-1 draw.

Celtic’s game against KR Reykjavik on Tuesday is massively important. It is a one-off game with the team’s Champions League future on the line.

Scott Brown in action vs Hamilton (Photo by Andrew Milligan/Pool via Getty Images)

With that in mind, Neil Lennon should consider dropping Brown from the first-team for the game and replacing him with Ntcham.

Of course, that does not mean that Brown is finished at Celtic. It should be remembered that he is 35. It shouldn’t be a surprise that it takes him a few games to get up to speed after a four month lay-off.

However, the Hoops did look better against Kilmarnock when Ntcham came on. The team looked more purposeful going forward. That added creativity is the principle reason the Frenchman should start against Reykjavik.

He hasn’t been selected in a competitive starting eleven since way back in February away to Copenhagen and deserves an opportunity to show what he can do.

Brown is professional enough to accept he is not a guaranteed starter.

Will still have huge role to play this season

He will be well-aware that he hasn’t started the season at his very best. Indeed, there is no one that Neil Lennon would rather have in his squad to motivate the side as Celtic look set to navigate a very busy schedule for the rest of the season.

Scott Brown will be a key man for Celtic this season (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In fact, Brown should be one of the first names on the team sheet for next Saturday’s game against Dundee United, as the Hoops aim to chase down the early deficit they face.

However, for this one-off elimination tie in midweek, Ntcham is the one to turn to.

In other news, some recent comments by Kris Boyd will only serve as motivation to Celtic.