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Friday 20 July 2018

Ntcham aims to repay Celtic faith with treble win

Scottish FA Cup final: Celtic v Motherwell, Live tomorrow Sky Sports (KO 3.0)

Up for the cup: Olivier Ntcham will aim to see off Motherwell in tomorrow’s Scottish FA Cup final at Hampden Park
Up for the cup: Olivier Ntcham will aim to see off Motherwell in tomorrow’s Scottish FA Cup final at Hampden Park

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham is enjoying the freedom of expression under Brendan Rodgers.

The 22-year-old Frenchman joined the Hoops from Manchester City last summer on a four-year deal for a reported fee of £4.5million after a two-year loan spell at Genoa.

He has since established himself as a regular in the Parkhead engine room and, ahead of the Scottish Cup final against Motherwell tomorrow, Ntcham spoke of his improvement under his Northern Irish boss.

He said: "As a player I am developing a lot. I am more aggressive, more concentrated.

"He (Rodgers) is very important. He gave me the chance to express myself on the pitch.

"Even when you miss, he is behind you to say 'try again' and, as a player, it is very nice to have a manager like this.

"The difference between him and the other ones is that he lets me express myself on the park, that is the difference.

"It suits me as a player and I am enjoying my football a lot."

Ntcham, however, felt the disappointment of being left on the bench by Rodgers for the 2-0 Betfred Cup final win over Motherwell in November.

But he is keen to make amends this weekend at Hampden Park to finish the season on a high.

Ntcham said: "When you are on the pitch it is a little bit different from being on the bench but you accept it for the team.

"I was disappointed for myself but happy for the team.

"When you play a final it is special, the fervour, the crowd, it is not like other games.

"It is always difficult to play against Motherwell because they are strong, they run a lot, have a good team spirit and they fight for every ball so it is going to be a tough game."

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