THERE is an unfortunate tendency in football, in the Scottish game especially and at the two main Glasgow clubs in particular, to overhype any young player who suddenly comes to prominence.

A kid breaking through into the first team, not least at Celtic and Rangers, is often hailed as a potential world beater by supporters and the media alike.

Invariably, those confident predictions of impending greatness place undue pressure on callow shoulders or cause heads to swell. Precious few actually go on to make it.

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For every Kieran Tierney, a rare example of a teenager who has more than justified the considerable excitement surrounding him, there are a dozen more who fail the reach the heights they have been tipped to scale.

But it is surely no exaggeration to suggest at this early stage that Olivier Ntcham - a player who is, despite the sizeable outlay which it took to secure his services this summer, still only 21 - can distinguish himself at the very highest level in the club game and possibly even internationally in future.

The midfielder, a £4.5 million acquisition from Manchester City last month, has still only made six starts for Celtic to date so it is perhaps premature to be heralding him as star of tomorrow.

But his performances in both of the Champions League play-off games against Astana were startling. The composure he displayed in possession in what are fraught occasions loaded with tension was extraordinary for someone of his age. His use of the ball, meanwhile, was impeccable. He was arguably his new club’s outstanding performer both home and away.

The goal which he scored in the Astana Arena on Tuesday night late on ended the very hopes which the home team, who had fought back valiantly in the second half, had of going through.

With Celtic set to bank upwards of £30 million from their involvement alongside Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Anderlecht in Group B, he has already more than paid back his transfer fee.

In his early outings for Brendan Rodgers’s men this term I must admit to struggling to see why it had taken such a significant outlay to bring Ntcham in and to questioning the ongoing omission of Stuart Armstrong.

Not being involved in a full pre-season, though, meant it took the Frenchman, who has spent the last two years on loan at Serie A club Genoa in Italy, a little time to gain match sharpness and improve his fitness levels.

Now that he has it is glaringly obvious why Rodgers, despite being able to play Armstrong, Nir Bitton, Scott Brown, Kouassi Eboue and Callum McGregor in the middle of the park, sanctioned his signing.

He is the sixth most expensive player in Celtic history. Only Rafael Scheidt (£4.8 million), Eyal Berkovic and Neil Lennon (£5.75 million) and John Hartson and Chris Sutton (£6 million) have cost more. But he is already looking like money very well spent. That is not, as a couple of names in that aforementioned quintet show, always the case.

Celtic have had an outstanding track record in the transfer market in the past decade. Bringing in raw talents from other countries, handing them regular game time, exposing them to a high level of competition and then selling them on for considerable profits has proved highly successful not to mention lucrative.

Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Ki Sung-Yueng, Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama have banked them just shy of £40 million and allowed them to consistently break even while enjoying on-field success both domestically and on the continent.

Moussa Dembele, the French striker who was brought in from Fulham for a paltry £500,000 last summer, will unquestionably be an individual who Celtic cash in on at some point down the line, probably next summer.

But could Ntcham be the next player to command a multi-million pound payment? There is every likelihood. If he continues in the same manner then his employers will have another highly sought-after asset on their books.

His arrival certainly augurs well for the tenure of Lee Congerton, who took over as head of recruitment from John Park earlier this year, and indicates the rude financial health of Celtic is unlikely to diminish any time soon.