NADIR Ciftci doesn’t want to stop celebrating but neither does he want to be left on the sidelines and miss out on moments worth celebrating as a consequence. That is why he slammed on the brakes as he headed towards the away fans at Tynecastle Stadium on Friday night.
Having previously fallen foul of the po-faced rules which prevent players getting caught up in the euphoria of a goal, he danced along the byeline after scoring an exquisite winner, careful not to venture towards the stands or incur the wrath of the officials.
“Yeah, that was the main thing. I have been getting stupid yellow cards for the celebrations but this time I didn’t,” says Ciftci, pictured. “I couldn’t reach our fans anyway, they were too high up, so this time it was easier than normal not to jump into the crowd. The last two celebrations I was just delighted that we won the games. We won 3-2 in the last second [against St Mirren last weekend] so you don’t know what you’re doing then but it is all good now.”
The 22-year-old’s exuberance and subsequent bookings have taken him over the points threshold and while he is available for the visit of Inverness to Tannadice on Wednesday, he will be suspended for the following fixture, versus Aberdeen. It has prompted a plea from his manager, Jackie McNamara, to rein himself in, fully aware how important he will be to the team as they see out the league campaign and chase glory in the Scottish Cup.
“I am gutted I’m not playing that game but I should not have done it, it’s as simple as this. I am not doing it again. [The manager] said it is just a rule that we have to look out for. I knew that you were not allowed to go into the crowd but I didn’t realise that you are not allowed to leave the pitch, even that little bit but I know that now. I know that they are stupid yellow cards, that you get suspended because of them and I know not to do it again.”
He will have to hope that his current form, which has delivered five goals in the last five games, will be enough to help him win his place back ahead of the much talked-about Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers just two games after that suspension.
“Everybody is looking forward to it. It is a semi-final and we want to go all the way and hopefully we can win the cup if we keep going like this and playing the way we do. We have to win the semi-final first before we can win the cup. That’s what we do it for, playing in big stadiums in front of a big crowd. You have to go and enjoy yourself, that’s the most important thing.”
The fact Rangers will enjoy home advantage when semi-finals are usually contested on neutral turf leaves Ciftci unperturbed, the striker adamant that the Tayside club remain firm favourites. “It doesn’t bother me, because if you want to win the cup you have to go through everyone. We will deal with it. We know what we need to do against them but there are so many games coming up before that and we have to keep playing this way to be ready.”