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Celtic boss Lennon fumes over Ntcham comments

The Hoops’ midfielder has criticised the quality of the Scottish league, saying he has ‘failed to develop.’

File photo of Neil Lennon.
File photo of Neil Lennon.

CELTIC MIDFIELDER OLIVIER Ntcham is in hot water with boss Neil Lennon over comments made regarding the quality of football in the Scottish Premier League. 

The 23-year-old, formerly of Manchester City, revealed he had “failed to develop” at the club, also adding that the level of football in Scotland’s top division was “not high.” 

Reports suggest that Celtic are struggling to hold on to the player, with Marseille the front-runners to prise him away from his current club.

Fellow Ligue 1 side Lyon are also said to be interested in the player, who appears desperate to force a move away from Scotland. 

“That will be addressed when Olivier comes back,” said Lennon ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League qualifier away to Sarajevo.

“I think it is fair to say that a lot of us, whether it be management, players or people at the club were not satisfied with the comments.”

Ntcham signed a four-year deal with Celtic after his arrival from Manchester City in the summer of 2017, after having spent two years in Serie A on loan with Genoa.

His time in Scotland has been trophy-laden, as the Hoops collected League, League Cup and Scottish Cup doubles in each of his two seasons at Celtic Park. The Frenchman has made a total of 84 appearances, scoring 14 goals during his two seasons with the SPL club and will have to face the music on his return to training. 

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“When I speak to Olivier it will be done privately but you can imagine, we find the comments untimely and not particularly accurate,” added Lennon.

Rangers v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Ibrox Stadium Olivier Ntcham is tackled by Andy Halliday in an Old Firm derby last season. Source: Andrew Milligan

Lennon admitted that the player had not completely burned his bridges, but it seems like the relationship will be tough to repair if Ntcham is determined to leave.

“He still has a future [at Celtic], he is under contract. But I will be speaking to him about his mindset and his attitude toward the club as well which, the way it came across, didn’t look good.”

Ntcham previously refused to sign a professional contract with Le Havre when he was a youngster, before joining Manchester City’s youth sector for a €1 million fee back in 2012.

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