Dundee United hoping Ciftci outshines Adam Rooney

Nadir Ciftci hit a double for United last week. Picture: SNS
Nadir Ciftci hit a double for United last week. Picture: SNS
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DUNDEE UNITED star Sean Dillon admits Adam Rooney is a handful for Aberdeen – but hopes Nadir Ciftci can outshine him in today’s New Firm clash.

Dillon knows Irishman Rooney from his native Ireland and is a big fan of the Dons forward, who has already netted 14 goals for Derek McInnes’ men this season.

The ex-Inverness and Birmingham striker will be a big threat to United’s hopes of making it back-to-back wins over the Reds this season as he seeks to add to his already impressive tally for the season at sold-out Tannadice this afternoon.

But Dillon is hoping his fellow Dubliner will play second fiddle to United’s Turkish ace Ciftci, who grabbed a fine double in last Friday night’s 3-2 win away to Ross County, in the battle of the strikers on Tayside today.

Dillon said: “Adam is a good player and is a strong boy. He is getting goals for them. He did well for Inverness then got his move to Birmingham.

“Adam is a good player and a good lad and I know his family from back home in Ireland. I played alongside his brother back home.

“They also have David Goodwillie so there is strength there. But we also have a lot of attacking talent and Nadir was back on form up at Ross County.”

United know a win over the Pittodrie outfit would open up a six-point gap and Dillon would be happy to win ugly as long as it means Jackie McNamara’s men come out on top in the Premiership’s game of the day.

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He said: “When you are going well the spotlight is on you more than normal and we have had that at times this season. A couple of results and everybody is talking about you. At other times, you can go about your business without the attention, with nobody really taking note.

“Aberdeen have quietly moved up the table into fourth but I would expect them to be there. It is not a surprise that they have been picking up results.

“Ideally we will win the game and put in a good performance. I hope it’s a great match but I would be happy to take three points regardless of the quality. I just want to win. If we can do that by playing some good stuff then great.

“Mind you, if it’s one of those games and we still get the victory then I will be just as delighted.”

United have the psychological edge after dumping the Dons 3-0 up in the Granite City on the opening day of the season, but defender Dillon doesn’t see their visitors having revenge on their mind when they roll up at Tannadice.

He said: “It was nice to get such a convincing win because they had the better of us last season. Hopefully, this season it will be our turn.

“It doesn’t matter if you have won ten games or lost ten games, you still want to win the next one As a player, you don’t think about what has gone before.

“So I can’t imagine Aberdeen will be up for the game any more or less than they would have been had they won that first game of the season.

“We will be expecting a tough game and we know that we will need to be at our best to beat Aberdeen.”

Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds admits their clash with United is a “massive” encounter as they bid to keep pace in the race for a European spot.

The centre-back told his club’s RedTV: “If we want to be successful as we were last season or even eclipse that, then every game is going to be massive.

“Teams will now start to break away and you pretty much need to win every game to keep up. Every three points becomes massive so when you play the teams round about you the game takes on greater significance.”

Aberdeen did not start the season as well as many anticipated but, as manager Derek McInnes has pointed out, they have more points than at the same stage last season. And Reynolds believes there is more to come from his side.

“We are still a work in progress,” he said. “We have a lot of good players though who are putting in good performances and the last few weeks we have been creating a lot of chances. Against Hamilton we put those chances away. The manager always hammers home to us that we cannot just turn up and expect to get those goals. To get the level of performance required we have to go and outwork and outfight the opposition. Over the 90 minutes we have to be the hungrier team.”

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