TURKISH striker Nadir Ciftci is back in the Celtic squad for their Champions League play-off first leg against Malmo tomorrow night and will rival the in-form Leigh Griffiths for Celtic’s striker role.
The £1.3million frontman is currently serving a six-game domestic ban and that has limited the impact he has been able to make in his first few weeks at Parkhead.
Ciftci, who netted 16 goals for Dundee United last season, has started all four of the Hoops’ European games – against Icelandic side Stjarnan and Azerbaijani title holders Qarabag – and is in line to return against the Swedes as boss Ronny Deila looks for his first foray into the group stages of the competition.Midfield inspiration Kris Commons is also available after recovering from a dead leg suffered in the first-half of last week’s 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
And Deila, who insists he has no other problems, will decide whether to include new signing Scott Allan in his squad after the playmaker signed a four-year deal on Friday following his move from Hibs, after the Scottish media told us all summer that he was heading elsewhere.
The Celtic boss said: “We want to get to the Champions League. That is our goal and I have said that since I joined this club.”Now we are two games away and we just have to be the best we can be.”
Deila also has a choice to make between Gary Mackay-Steven, who started against Inverness at the weekend after being rested in the previous match, and James Forrest who was explosive in that game at Kilmarnock.