Celtic were outfought and outplayed on their own patch by their arch-rivals on Saturday afternoon, leaving Neil Lennon with everything to do if his side is to secure a record-breaking tenth successive Scottish Premiership title.
It was the second match in as many seasons that Rangers have come to Parkhead and been the better side but only this time, the defending champions failed to find the net nor did they manage to have a single shot on target.
Although once again, they were undone by a Light Blues centre-back with Conor Goldson surprisingly finding himself on the scoresheet with a match-winning brace.
You could pick many holes in Lennon’s side, right across the pitch, as the Hoops were without a plethora of usual first-team starters ranging from Ryan Christie in attacking midfield to leading talisman Odsonne Edouard upfront.
But that does not excuse the shocking display by some who were trusted enough to start instead, none more so than fringe star Olivier Ntcham, who had been linked with an exit to the Premier League throughout the summer. Celtic reportedly valued their man at £12m.
SofaScore graded the 24-year-old as the worst player on the pitch with a miserable 5.9 rating – he lost possession 13 times, failed to win a single duel from six attempts, was dribbled past twice and made a pathetic 69% of his 16 passes.
GlasgowLive gave Ntcham a 4/10 and claimed he has been “absolutely lost this season” whilst the Daily Record were equally scathing in giving him one notch better, claiming he was “unable to get to grips with the likes of [Glen] Kamara and [Steven] Davis.”
Not only was he lightweight, but he was largely anonymous too with fellow midfielders Callum McGregor and Scott Brown making at least 37 passes themselves.
It’s no wonder that the young Frenchman was pulled before the 70th minute and he ought to be wary with Christie set to return in due course whilst summer arrival David Turnbull and forgotten man Tom Rogic featured off the bench, so his place is by no means safe and secure.
Ntcham’s sixth start of the season in the SPFL could well be his last for quite some time going by that showing – with an enormous tie with AC Milan on Thursday before a trip to fourth-placed Aberdeen, Lennon will surely look to other options.
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