DUNDEE chief John Nelms has defended Jim McAlister over accusations he verbally provoked Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci during the controversial final-day derby.
Nelms, managing director at Dens Park, spoke out after United accused Dundee of winding up Ciftci with “some quite severe physical and totally unacceptable verbal provocation”.
This followed claims, on social media, by McAlister that Ciftci had bitten him during a second-half flashpoint.
The Dark Blues have called for a full investigation, and the SFA is now weighing up all evidence before deciding on its next move. Ciftci could face an exceptional misconduct charge from SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan.
On rumours that some of the provocation was of a racist nature, Nelms said: “I can’t imagine Jim would ever say anything of that nature, and I will defend all of our players.
“Nobody has ever said anything to me about any racist comments. The referee was also stood right there and I don’t think that has come out in his report.
“It is all just allegations and rumours, but I’m not worried about Jim’s character or reputation being affected. You never know what is said in the heat but I doubt he would be someone who would say something like what he is alleged to have said.
“I have spoken with Jim and since then we have referred everything to the SFA.
“They have asked us for different things from photographs to statements. They obviously know something has happened and they’re investigating it.”
Nelms says he did not know McAlister had been bitten until 24 hours after Sunday’s 3-0 win for United, but claims their midfielder required medical assistance afterwards.
Nelms said: “I was 150 yards from the incident. I don’t know what happens on a football pitch, but knowing Jim and his character, I don’t think that’s something he would say or do.
“Jim just gets on with things. He’s a good kid. Whatever happened to him he will go down the right path and make sure he does all the right things and follows the rules.”
The SFA may take up to a fortnight to rule on the incident and Nelms hopes it doesn’t harm relations with their city rivals.
He said: “There is no timescale that we know of.”
Meanwhile, Dundee are in negotiations with McAlister aimed at handing him a new deal. Nelms said: “We are in talks with Jim himself about a new contract and hopefully he will stay because he is a fantastic player and you know exactly what you will get with him.”
Bulgarian defender Kostadin Gadzhalov has signed a new one-year deal to stay at Dens.