Olivier Ntcham could be our super sub at Hampden
There’s a growing theme developing that Olivier Ntcham may be better suited coming off the bench for Celtic, rather than starting. It’s something that could play a big part at Hampden on Sunday.
The mercurial French talent didn’t do enough to stake a claim for a starting berth in the Betfred Cup final clash against Rangers, after a below par hour showing in the dramatic win over Hamilton on Wednesday.
Ntcham has struggled a little to find his groove when given starting opportunities by Neil Lennon in truth. The 23-year-old seems much more natural when brought on to exploit tired legs in the closing stages of matches.
Ntcham is an ideal substitute to have for Hampden clash
There’s no doubting that he’s better suited to games that are stretched. Arguably his two best performances so far this season have come in games like that, away to both Rangers and Lazio. Ntcham played a big role in late goals in both of those matches, with his quick thinking and terrific quality on the ball paying dividends against fatigued opposition.
It seems to be a different story when he’s played from the start against the likes of Hamilton who are keen to put 11 men behind the ball. In those kind of games, Tom Rogic looks like a much better option than the Frenchman.
But Ntcham can still have a big role to play in the Hampden showpiece on Sunday. As previously mentioned, he tormented a weary Rangers in September’s Ibrox win, with his ball retention crucial against a side hungry to win it back.
A similar role looms for him this weekend as we set about winning a tenth successive domestic trophy. Glasgow derbies can be stretched at the best time but the fact this one is a cup final only amplifies that.
If Rangers are chasing the game late on, there’s not many players you would rather bring on than Ntcham.