You won’t see that headline often and people may say it’s an over reaction considering we didn’t lose the game but Brendan Rodgers decision to leave Oliver Ntcham out today was absolutely wrong.
It’s easy to say that after an event and after he came on and looked sharp but it should have been so obvious to the Celtic manager that the Frenchman should have been in the starting XI on merit, much like Ajer!
Instead, Rodgers went with the old faithful, who have, for the most part, served him well but not so much in the last three months. Stuart Armstrong has rarely been at the races this term yet he waltzed onto the pitch today and done what he has most of the season – stunk up the place.
His fellow midfielders weren’t much better apart from Scott Brown who put in an energy zapping shift as he put out fires when needed.
I seen Armstrong punt the ball forward from the halfway line at one point just so he didn’t need to run with ball. He looked like he didn’t want to be there. All while Ntcham was watching from the bench.
It would be purely speculative and a bit arrogant to suggest Celtic would have won if Ntcham had started but I’m going to say it anyway, Celtic would have won if Ntcham had started.
The midfielders ability to take all the pressure off the ball and eek out a pass would’ve proved invaluable as The Rangers tried to constantly press.
You seen it when Ntcham came on, composure and quick feet helped move things along and get Celtic up the end of the pitch they wanted to be.
In the grand scheme of things, life isn’t so bad and a draw is not the end of the world. The lesson to learn here is play the players most in-form over the guys who have delivered in the past but cooled off. Oliver Ntcham might fall into that bracket at some point, who knows.
I’m aware criticising the manager can draw some pretty foul mouthed tirades from some fans but anyone who thinks Ntcham shouldn’t have started even after the event has taken place, then I really can’t help you.
Celtic have a winter break to sort themselves out. I think they will.