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WILSON BACKS CIFTCI

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FORMER Celtic defender Mark Wilson reckons Nadir Ciftci will be great for Leigh Griffiths.
The defender spent two seasons with the Turkish striker at Dundee United and witnessed the player’s special talents which have attracted the attention of Ronny Deila.
Wilson said: “You can draw parallels with Leigh and Nadir. Leigh had discipline problems when he arrived at Celtic and it’s also the case that Nadir has some problems.

“It’s sometimes the case with young players that they need to learn the hard way. Although Nadir looks a lot older than 23, he’s a young player who still has lots to learn.

“They have both come from working-class backgrounds and learned the game by playing in the street. All they need is a bit of guidance.

“Sometimes reputations can be false. Nadir has a wise head on him. There have been occasions when he has let himself down, but Celtic have the right people to guide him.”

The first of Ciftci’s 33 goals for United were scored in a League Cup-tie against Dumbarton when he came off the bench to rescue his side with a late double in a 3-2 win.

It was Wilson who made way for the striker that night and he already knew his replacement was a special talent.

He said: “It was my second debut for United when he came on for me to score his first goals. I knew there was a player there as I’d trained with him leading up to that game.

“Nothing was going right for us that night, but as soon Nadir came on he changed the game within a few minutes. He tore Dumbarton apart.”

It’s been another period of offer and counter offer between United and Celtic, but Wilson is adamant it’s textbook business from Tannadice boss Jackie McNamara and his club.

Wilson said: “I believed it was only a matter of time before Nadir moved to a bigger stage. Dundee United would have known that as well.

“It was a brilliant bit of business by Jackie to bring him to the club two years ago. Nadir had failed at a few other clubs, but Jackie brought him in and gave him the platform to play.

“I’m sure United looked at him as someone they would try to get fit, playing regularly and scoring goals and then it would be only a matter of time before they could sell him on.”

The expected arrival at Parkhead of Ciftci will allow Hoops boss Ronny Deila to supplement his attack with a physical and creative presence ahead of their Champions League qualifiers.

Wilson added: “I was the opposite of Nadir when I signed for Celtic. I was quiet and within myself. It took me to go to Celtic to build a personality over a period of years.

“Nadir will be completely different when he goes in there as he’s one of the dressing room jokers and likes a carry-on.

“On the pitch you can see the confidence he has with the tricks he does so he won’t be fazed by playing for a club the size of Celtic. It’s something he will relish.

“Nadir’s a player Celtic fans will love and I expect him to go there and light up the place.”

 
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