NADIR Ciftci will not be eligible to make his domestic debut for Celtic until mid-September after receiving a six-match ban for biting Jim McAlister on the leg during the Dundee derby at the end of last season.
Two of the matches are suspended until the end of the season and will only be applied should Ciftci commit another act of misconduct.
It means Celtic will be without the services of their recent £1.5 million signing from Dundee United for the first six games of their Scottish Premiership title defence.
Ciftci will sit out the league opener against Ross County at Celtic Park on 1 August, the away games at Partick Thistle (9 August) and Kilmarnock (12 August), the home fixture against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on 15 August, the trip to Tannadice to face his former club on 22 August and then the home game against St Johnstone on 29 August.
The first domestic fixture Ciftci will be available to play in will be the Premiership trip to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie on 12 September.
He is able to play in European fixtures while serving the domestic ban. Ciftci made his Celtic debut in last week’s opening Champions League qualifier against Stjarnan at Parkhead and will be in the squad which flies out to Reykjavik this morning with a 2-0 advantage ahead of the second leg tomorrow night.
Celtic will have to win another two qualifying ties before the end of August if they are to make it to the group stage of the Champions League and those games now offer Ciftci his only opportunities to make a positive start to his career with the club.
Ciftci was cited by SFA Compliance Officer Tony McGlennan after the allegation he had sunk his teeth into McAlister’s leg towards the end of Dundee United’s 3-0 win over Dundee at Tannadice on 24 May.
The charge against Ciftci stated that “this act constituted an A2 Sending-Off Offence of Violent Conduct as provided for in Section 3 of Annex C to the Judicial Panel Protocol, and was aggravated by the degree of physical violence used”.
McAlister, who has since left Dundee, gave evidence in person to the three-person disciplinary tribunal yesterday. The panel also considered photographic evidence of the damage to McAlister’s leg which were taken shortly after the incident.
This act was aggravated by the degree of physical violence usedSFA charge
Ciftci was quick to deny the charge at the time and was backed by United who claimed he had been subjected to “unacceptable provocation” from Dundee players during the match.
“Dundee United FC are fully supportive of Nadir Ciftci in relation to allegations reportedly made against him by a Dundee player in the 3-0 derby win on Sunday at Tannadice,” read a statement issued by United at the time. “The club has interviewed Nadir as the accusation levelled against him is very serious and Dundee United would not condone such behaviour.
“The player is both surprised and upset by the accusation and, on discussing the matter in detail, it is clear to us that the player has not been involved in any such incident. In fact, we commend Nadir for his tolerance on the field given some quite severe physical and totally unacceptable verbal provocation.”
Celtic took on Ciftci’s defence after signing him earlier this month and provided the legal representation for him at Hampden. But the disciplinary panel were satisfied that Ciftci was guilty.
Ciftci was booked 30 times and sent off once during his two seasons with United. In 2013, he received a two-match ban for excessive misconduct for placing his hand onto the throat of assistant referee Gavin Harris during a League Cup tie against Inverness. He was then cited another twice by McGlennan last season but successfully challenged bans on both occasions, for allegedly striking Inverness defender Gary Warren and then for kicking Celtic captain Scott Brown. Both cases were found not proven by disciplinary tribunals.