Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised Olivier Ntcham following his performance in the away defeat to Romanian side CFR Cluj on Thursday evening.
The 23-year-old was named captain for the Bhoys due to the absence of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor.
Lennon’s team slipped to a 2-0 away loss against Cluj in the final match of their Europa League group, but they had already seal qualification in top spot prior to the game and will be seeded for Monday’s Round of 32 draw.
With nine changes made to the side that clinched the League Cup final at the weekend against Rangers, Celtic struggled to find their top gear or fluency.
Andrei Burca and Damjan Djokovic netted second-half goals for hosts Cluj to see them progress to the knockout rounds as runners-up.
Lennon picked out Ntcham for his display in the centre of the park against Cluj.
“I thought Ntcham was unbelievable. To give him the captaincy and then for him to take on the responsibility the way he did was excellent. I thought his all-round game tonight was absolutely top class,” Lennon said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
Ntcham impressed in a disciplined role in front of the back four against Cluj and helped some of his more inexperienced teammates, including 18-year-old Scott Robertson on his debut.
Ntcham appeared to thrive from wearing the armband and proved that he can be a strong leader on the pitch.
The French central midfielder was efficient in possession in a difficult fixture considering all the rotations and is going to be key moving forward in the European competition.