Biting should not put Celtic off Ciftci - Hartson

JOHN Hartson insists Celtic should not be put off attempting to sign Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci if he is found guilty of biting in Sunday’s Tayside derby.

Nadir Ciftci: Denies bite claims. Picture: SNS

It is alleged that Ciftci sank his teeth into Dundee midfielder Jim McAlister as the two players tangled on the pitch – something that is being strenuously denied by the Tannadice club.

The SFA have launched an investigation into the incident and there is little doubt that the Turkish striker faces a lengthy suspension if he is found guilty.

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However, former Celtic striker Hartson says this should not dampen the determination of Ronny Deila to make a move for Ciftci this summer.

Nadir Ciftci: Denies bite claims. Picture: SNS

Hartson said: “He’s a player I like. He’s strong, he’s big but there is no place for that in football. I have not seen it, but if he is guilty and it’s plain to see – and we saw it with Suarez – there is no room for it.

“It’s a poor reaction from him because there is no place for that type of thing. You can accept an elbow and people throwing their arms out, but there is no place for biting. If he gets done, he will deserve his punishment.

“I don’t know if it will put people off. I’ve always thought people should be given another chance. I’m sure he will put his case forward, but, if he is found guilty, then I’m sure it’s something he will be ashamed about.

“Barcelona weren’t put off Suarez, were they? He will have to face his punishment and take it on the chin. If he learns from it and moves on then why not?

“He is a very good player. He has physical presence and is someone like myself who throws his weight around.

“I think he could be like Chris Sutton – someone that Stokes and Griffiths could play off. So, I don’t think it will put Celtic off.

“If it puts him out of a few matches and they won’t have him until four or five games into the season they might think about it then.

“But, if they get him on a three or four-year contract, then that time could be made up. It’s something the manager might think about, but maybe it might reduce the fee.”

Hartson was infamously involved in a training-ground incident with Eyal Berkovic at West Ham when he kicked the Israeli striker on the face.

Although he was one of the most successful strikers in English football and a major force for Celtic, that act of thuggery followed him wherever he went.

He said: “I always felt the Eyal Berkovic incident went before me.”