Ciftci Impresses In Celtic Debut
11 July 2015, 10:18
Nadir Ciftci put himself in line for a start in Celtic's Champions League qualifier against Stjarnan next week with an impressive debut performance against Real Sociedad.
The 23-year-old Turkish striker, who signed a four-year deal in a £1.5million move from Dundee United on Thursday, made an instant impact when he came off the bench in the Parkhead side's final warm-up game at St Mirren Park on Friday night.
In the 68th minute, seconds after replacing lone striker Leigh Griffiths, Ciftci combined with former Tannadice team mate Gary Mackay-Steven before the Hoops winger swept in the winner in a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over David Moyes' La Liga side, who had bossed the first-half.
Deila's men begin their attempt to reach the group stages of European football's elite club competition when they take on the Icelandic outfit in the first-leg of their opening qualifier at Celtic Park next Wednesday and, asked if Ciftci has a chance of starting against Stjarnan, the Norwegian said: "We'll see. He's available and we'll see what we do. He is of course an option.
"I'm very happy to get him in. He showed today what he can add to the team, he's a good football player and he's going to be an important player for us.''
With such an important game looming, the Celtic manager declared himself pleased with the work-out against a slick visiting side who tired after the break.
He said: "It's going to make us even stronger. We have things we can do from the bench and we have a strong squad and everyone is looking forward to the games.
"Offensively we started without confidence but we grew throughout the game and in the end we created the chances we needed to win. So I'm happy with the performance.
"We need more sharpness but that'll come on Wednesday.''
Former Everton and Manchester United boss Moyes, an ex-Celtic defender, had sympathy for the Hoops' early European start but insists they will simply have to be ready.
He said: "I don't think it's a great situation that they are being asked to start so early in the season but that's down to where Scotland are in the coefficient.
"The games have to start early and it's not easy for Celtic but that's the rules.
"If Scotland can continue to improve then it may change and the national side is doing the country proud and there are a lot of Celtic players part of that team.
"You want your team to be at their best coming into the last few months of the season when you're approaching cup finals and league title races.
"But Celtic need to be at their best at the start and they better be ready.
"It's the same for the other teams and of course they'd like more time but they won't get that so they need to be ready.''