Olivier Ntcham would have been the most relieved man inside Hampden when Christophe Berra’s header drifted wide of the post in the 95th minute of Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.
The Hearts captain couldn’t quite direct his effort on target in what turned out to be the Jambos’ final opportunity of an engrossing encounter. Berra’s misfortune was Ntcham’s delight after the Frenchman had inexplicably given the ball away in the closing stages.
Celtic looked in the clear as they counter-attacked with the seconds ticking down. The midfielder only had to find a teammate, dribble himself or thump the ball downfield. His decision to play a loose pass that Hearts leapt onto nearly cost his side victory.
A defining moment
Ntcham’s Celtic career may have been up had the Jambos counter materialised. It was indicative of his season in general. Lazy and ponderous in possession, and sometimes downright careless.
The French under-21 international must look to start next season at a much better level. He’ll have a fresh start under Neil Lennon and must look to take that opportunity to make his mark.
He’s one of the most talented players at the club when on his game but those days are few and far between. It’s time Olivier Ntcham lived up to his potential.