There have been a number of players at Celtic this season who have not been fit to wear the jersey. In fact, if supporters were allowed inside Parkhead, a number of the squad would likely be receiving a rather hostile reception.
After all, this campaign has been a tale of woe, one where the Hoops have surrendered their dominance of Scottish football to their biggest rivals.
Though, one of the chief suspects in Celtic’s underperforming season had been Olivier Ntcham.
In years gone by, the Frenchman has been an anchor for the Bhoys, a player they looked towards to drive the team forward. He epitomised everything you’d look for in a box to box midfielder.
Unfortunately, he went missing this season. He started just seven times in the SPFL where he scored the solitary goal.
Clearly out of favour with Neil Lennon, he was accused of downing tools by talkSPORT presenter Alan Brazil. He has been loaned out to Marseille in his homeland but it’s arguably got even worse for him since he went back to France.
On day one, Andre Villas-Boas threatened to leave his job. The exact words from his mouth in an explosive press conference were: “Ntcham is precisely a player for whom I said no. It was never a player who was on our list.”
After disagreeing with the board, Villas-Boas was consequently sacked from his post. However, the arrival of Jorge Sampaoli hasn’t been beneficial either.
Ntcham has been nothing short of abysmal since penning temporary terms with the Ligue 1 side. He has been withdrawn at half time in three separate matches, including a cup tie where Marseille suffered defeat to Canet Roussillon, a team in the fourth tier of French football.
On that occasion, the midfielder was given a match rating of 1/10 by La Provence, a publication that described him as “unacceptable.” That came after L’Equipe gave him a 3/10 for this role in a 2-0 defeat against Lille.
Unfortunately, he was particularly poor again when Marseille were swept aside 3-0 by Nice. Ntcham lost a massive 80% of his duels in that contest last weekend, before being lumped off at the break.
Once more, he was given a brutal assessment in the French press.
La Provence reporter Alexandre Jacquin said: “Ntcham is the man of half-time exits. It must be said that once again, he did not do much to deserve to stay on the ground after returning from rest. Sampaoli even gave the impression of biting his fingers for having trusted him: If he had not been bald, we could have written that El Pelado tore his hair out every time the native of Longjumeau touched leather.”
Clearly, his time back in France has not benefited his career. On his return to Celtic, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if he was given the boot permanently.
The £14k-per-week earner has had a disastrous season; there is surely no way back for him.