WHERE would we be without excuses? In a world in which we would always have to tell the truth having been caught doing something wrong, that’s where.

It sounds awful.

Imagine stumbling home four hours later than promised and instead of the old “I met a mate I haven’t seen in years and his old mum is gravely ill” line, you would have to admit that “I bumped into an old flame and we had 10 drinks

… no, this isn’t blood on my lips. I got a winch.”

Honesty is only the best policy some of the time. Teach your kids that and they’ll be fine. Even if the person being lied to knows they are being fed nonsense, it makes for an easier life. The trouble is that the fibber almost always gets caught.

As my dear old granny once

told me: “A lie is a story someone tells about something that never happened.”

Lies are easy to disprove because there aren’t any facts to back them up. It is true in life as it is in football. More so in football.

Ross McCormack once didn’t turn up for training at Aston Villa because the automatic doors at the bottom of his drive were stuck. Scotland didn’t qualify for anything under Gordon Strachan because, as he insisted, we are too small.

A personal favourite involved Thomas Brolin, a Swedish player of some ability despite having a bit of a belly, who found himself at Leeds United towards the end of his career.

On his way to join up with his team-mates for pre-season training, and this is genuinely what he claimed, his car hit a bird on the way to the airport, breaking his windscreen, and leaving him too distraught to get on a plane.

All together now . . . “Sure!”

The all-time greatest excuse used by a footballer who finds himself in a bit of soapy is, of course, that something was lost in translation.

This happens when a player, let’s call him Olivier Ntcham, gives an interview in his homeland, slags off his club, making it clear he wants away, which somehow makes its way back to his bosses within 10 minutes or so of his words being seen in print.

The players are either stupid or

keen to get their feelings out in public. Perhaps both.

In these days of the interweb – which I believe is a fad and newsprint is on its way back – anything said by any of the seven billion and something people on this planet which finds its way online can be found subsequently and read from the North Pole to somewhere even more remote and without modern facilities. Wishaw, for example.

So, when a famous person,

say a professional footballer,

speaks to one of the best-known sports newspapers in the world, L’Equipe, on this occasion, what he says will be translated and read by millions before someone in a Northern Irish accent can say: “Olivier, a word.”

Neil Lennon himself said that he wasn’t going to put up with the “it was lost in translation excuse” if Ntcham tries that on next week when he returns to Glasgow.

On one hand, the Frenchman is only looking after himself and who among us doesn’t wish they had been more selfish at certain points during our lives.

And the big fella gives off the impression he would join the Navy so the world could see him.

On the other, Celtic have been good to him, made him one of the best paid at the club and his return last season was mostly that of an uninterested, restless soul who would rather be anywhere else than Celtic Park.

Ntcham wants to go. Celtic know this and will likely get good money for a player who hardly kicked a ball for them last season, bar a few games when he was the best player on the park because he has that ability and could be bothered.

That a player wants to leave a club is hardly big news. Indeed, it would have been more of a surprise had Ntcham spoke about wanting to stay at Celtic. But why did he not man up and talk to Lennon face

to face?

This happens a lot in football. Men, supposedly, with ego, money and fame, find themselves too sacred to do the right thing; rather, they get an agent or journalist to do their dirty work.

Ach, it’s hardly the most important thing in the world. Ntcham will get his move. Celtic will be rid of a player who doesn’t want to be there and earn a right few bob. However, I do understand the anger of the supporters of any club when one of their own, someone who they’ve backed and cheered, turns against them instead of doing the mature thing and saying: “Look, I’ve had a great few years but it’s time to move on.”

That just doesn’t seem to be the done thing. Neymar, inset, has done a disappearing act because he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and return to Barcelona. He’s the highest profile player who has gone awol but there will be hundreds looking to do the same during the transfer window.

What happened to old-fashioned manning up? Is it because people who work in football are so mollycoddled that they will run

a mile from an adult situation?

Isn’t it time we grew up?