Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham is “looking to move on”, says Jackie McNamara

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham has been criticised by Jackie McNamara for his outspoken comments last week, as reported by website Football Insider.

What’s he said?

The Hoops midfielder spoke to French newspaper L’Equipe about his current situation at Celtic Park, criticising the standard of opposition and lamenting the fact he could not join Porto last summer.

They were comments that attracted the ire of manager Neil Lennon, who will deal with the situation when the Frenchman returns to the club’s training base at Lennoxtown.

McNamara thinks he is simply working his ticket out of the club but has criticised the player for being disrespectful to his employers and Scottish football.

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As quoted by Football Insider, the former Celtic captain said:

“I think his comments are disappointing, Neil Lennon’s said that as well. It’s disrespectful for the club and the league.

“It’s given him the opportunity and the platform to play and, especially last season, he wasn’t really strong in his performances. If it was that inferior then he should be standing out more, which he didn’t.

“Obviously the lad’s just looking to move on there. It’s a strange one, is he disruptive when he’s playing? The most important thing is whether he is contributing to the team. If they’re doing it on the pitch they can say what they want, do what they want at certain times.”

How should Lennon handle Ntcham?

With this spat taking place so publicly, the expectation will now be that it is all dealt with internally and privately.

Lennon had his say in public, letting fans know that the player’s behaviour was out of order, so there’s no use letting it all drag along in the open.

With the midfielder’s contract not expiring until 2023, Celtic should hold firm in the face of any low-ball offers from clubs looking to capitalise on the situation.

The best case scenario here is that the air is cleared and Ntcham is either sold for his true market value or keeps his head down and gets on with the task of helping deliver trophies for the club.

It’s not the first time a footballer has made outlandish comments while away on international duty and in this case there’s no need for it to critically impact the relationship between Ntcham and Celtic.