If today’s news is to be believed, Nadir Ciftci could be on his way out of Celtic Park this summer. The striker says he’d rather continue playing in Turkey, where’s he currently on loan at Eskisehirspor, rather than return to Parkhead.
It’s safe to say things have not worked out for the striker after making his £1.5 million switch from Dundee United last summer.
At Tannadice, Ciftci was an incredible talent. Though prone to lazing around the park with a lackadaisical style, when he turned it on he could completely dominate opposing teams. He had a terrific blend of skill, quick feet, strength, power and accurate shooting, which made him a firm favourite among the Tannadice faithful, a collection of attributes that have been largely absent since his switch to the champions.
Hopefully he can return to Celtic and recapture his previous form because it would be great to have such a prodigious talent, not to mention fiery character, strutting his stuff to the highest level in Scotland. However, if not, at least we’re left than more than a few memories.
HIBERNIAN 1 - 3 DUNDEE UNITED (FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014)
Chasing down a high ball with Paul Hanlon, Ciftci demonstrated his tremendous upper body strength to shrug his opponent off the ball before showing great composure to feint a shot, roll it back on to his left foot and pass it beyond Ben Williams into the far corner. Later in the match, Hibs boss Terry Butcher took the merciful measure of withdrawing Hanlon after he’d be ragdolled by Ciftci one time too many.
HEARTS 1 - 2 DUNDEE UNITED (FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014)
This was far from a vintage Ciftci performance. Too often he longed for an eternity on the ball and often found it nicked off his toes by a desperate Hearts side scrapping for their Scottish Premiership lives. Then, with 20 minutes remaining, he produced a piece of magic. Receiving a pass on the right he twice rapidly shifted the ball from right to left foot, enabling him to side-step two challenges before shooting for goal. Despite stretching to get there before the shot was blocked, it still arrowed straight into the far corner.
RANGERS 1 - 3 DUNDEE UNITED (SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014)
It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing of goals, but Ciftci said it was his favourite in Scottish football prior to his move to Celtic, so who are we to argue? While it owes a lot to a dreadful error from Steve Simonsen, it does have the terrific sight of both player and supporters, thousands of whom were packed behind the Ibrox goal, celebrating as one before the ball has even crossed the line. It wrapped up the Scottish Cup semi-final win for United.
DUNDEE UNITED 5 - 1 MOTHERWELL (SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2014)
This was the “golden generation” Dundee United team at their very best. Motherwell were actually ahead in the league table, but not that you would have known it from a blistering United performance, who continually tore the visitors to shreds on the way to this comprehensive victory. This goal was the pick of the bunch. Ciftci got it started with a neat flick at the halfway line that set Stuart Armstrong off and running. When Armstrong returned the favour, Ciftci feinted to shoot, shimmied past a sliding defender, opened himself up and placed the ball beautifully into the top corner.
ST JOHNSTONE 0 - 3 CELTIC (SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2015)
The away trip to McDiarmid Park could well prove to be the high point of Ciftci’s Celtic career. He netted twice in the 3-0 victory and put in an encouraging performance amid some otherwise disappointing form for Ronny Deila’s side. There was an air of good fortune about this strike as the ball made it’s way through a packed box before dropping right into his lap, but once it arrived he showed great composure and ruthlessness to quickly spin and fire past the defenders on the goal-line.