Despite rumours linking him away from the club in the last two transfer windows, Scott Brown is adamant that Olivier Ntcham is going nowhere and is key to their hopes of landing a fourth consecutive treble.
After a comfortable 3-0 victory over Clyde in the Scottish Cup in which Ntcham played alongside Brown in the heart of the Hoops midfield rather than his recent number ten role, the Celtic skipper (reported by The Daily Record) said of the Frenchman’s recent form:
“Olivier loves it here. He’s enjoying playing, and he’s showing his quality on the park. Everyone appreciates that. He tracks back too, that’s what the manager wants.”
“He played a little deeper at Clyde than he normally does with Callum McGregor being out and Ryan Christie being in the team, so he got a wee bit more of the ball.”
“As soon as he gets it he’s got that drive to go forward. He can go past somebody, he’s got a goal in him, and he’s go the vision to see a pass too.”
“He’s very confident on the ball and he’s always a willing to take it in any situation. He chips in with goals as well, and his finish here was incredible from where he was.”
“He’s managed to take a touch and whip it in, and it’s one of those that either goes in at the back post or someone manages to get a touch to take it in.”
“That’s what he brings, but he’s also got that drive, he can play wee one-twos, and his link-up play with Odsonne Edouard, Callum and Leigh Griffiths recently has been phenomenal.”
Ntcham was close to the exit door at Parkhead last summer having, allegedly, agreed a return to his homeland and speculation was rife that he was in talks ahead of a move to West Ham in January but again, nothing came to fruition.
The France under-21 international has been a revelation since coming back after the winter break with Neil Lennon playing him in a central position behind a front two and it is paying dividends with Celtic winning everyone of their games so far.
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The Hoops gaffer will be hoping for more of the same on Wednesday as they prepare for the visit of Hearts with Ntcham likely to to be given the responsibility of providing the ammunition for Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard as they look to make it eight wins in a row in 2020 and maintain their grip on the Scottish Premiership title.