Neil Lennon speaks on Ntcham and Gordon transfer links as St Johnstone chiefs claim Capri Sun pouch was thrown at Zander Clark

Neil Lennon is adamant that Olivier Ntcham is going nowhere following reports that West Ham had opened discussions about a move for the French midfielder.
Neil Lennon spoke on transfer rumours involving Craig Gordon and Olivier NtchamNeil Lennon spoke on transfer rumours involving Craig Gordon and Olivier Ntcham
Neil Lennon spoke on transfer rumours involving Craig Gordon and Olivier Ntcham

The Celtic manager also downplayed suggestions goalkeeper Craig Gordon would be granted a move to Hearts.

Speaking after his side’s 3-0 victory at St Johnstone, he slapped down talk of an exit for the 23-year-old Ntcham, who opened the scoring with a sixth-minute header in Perth.

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“It’s nonsense. He’s not going anywhere,” Lennon said. “The last thing I want is good players going out the door. If anything, I want to get players in, but it’s a tough thing to do.

"I had a joke with Olivier after the game, asking him if he was doing that for the cameras, putting himself out there.

"He’s played so well for me and I thought he was terrific. Not just his goal but his all-round game. As far as I’m concerned he’s not going anywhere.”

Lennon also gave little encouragement to the Tynecastle club over their pursuit of 37-year-old Scotland internationalist Gordon.

“That’s just speculation,” said the Celtic manager. “Craig wants to play obviously with the Euros in mind, but he’s such an important part of the quad here that we don’t want to let him go.”

Lennon was effusive in his praise for Greg Taylor and James Forrest, who claimed Celtic’s second before Leigh Griffiths had Celtic home and hosed as they retainined their five-point advantage at the top of the Premiership.

The only blots of the night were knee injuries that forced off centre-back Jozo Simunovic - who did not reappear for the second half - and Mikey Johnston, the winger lasting only half an hour as a second-half substitute.

“You manage Jozo week by week but he should be fine,” said Lennon of the Croatian defender, who has played four games in 11 days following five months on the sidelines.

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“In the circumstances we’ve had to cajole him a little to come out and play which was a bit of a risk, but thankfully I don’t think there’s any damage. We’ll give him a rest and have him back in a week or two.

“Johnston got a wobble. He’ll need to be assessed but I could do without another injury as I’ve had a raft of them. We’ll see.

"We’re hoping [Mohamed] Elyounoussi is back training on Thursday and Friday and we’ll see how [new signing, Ismaila] Soro gets on in the next week or two. But for February I need a pool of players as we have a raft of games coming up.”

Meanwhile, St Johnstone officials rejected claims made on BT Sport that a bottle had been thrown at home keeper Zander Clark during the match - the object apparently a Capri Sun pouch.