Deila: Ciftci just needs a goal

Date published: Thursday 23rd July 2015 8:32

The £1.5m summer arrival from Dundee United was again preferred to last season’s top scorer Leigh Griffiths for the second-leg of the Hoops’ Champions League qualifier against Stjarnan on Wednesday night.

Ciftci – who is banned for the first six games of the domestic season after being found guilty of biting Dundee’s Jim McAlister – was substituted on his debut at Celtic Park last week in the 2-0 win over the Icelandic part-timers.

And the 23-year-old again made way, this time for Tom Rogic, in the 4-1 win which took the Scottish champions into the third qualifier with a 6-1 aggregate victory.

Griffiths, who scored a hat-trick in the weekend’s friendly win over Eibar in Spain, came off the bench to grab the third goal with two minutes remaining to remind Deila of his talents.

However, with only two competitive games played, Deila is relaxed about Ciftci and remains positive about his striking options.

The Parkhead boss said: “We win and lose together as a team, he (Griffiths) come on and did well and we won the game.

“Nadir had his chances; he needs to just put the ball into the net now. It is important to get the first one and then he will get more.

“It will come. He started training later than the others so he needs a little bit more time than the rest. But I have a good problem up front.”

Celtic’s progress past Stjarnan sets them up to face Azerbaijan champions Qarabag in the next round, with the first leg in Glasgow next week, and Hoops midfielder Nir Bitton is looking forward to the challenge.

“I have never been there, and so it will be the first time for me,” said Bitton. “It will be a difficult game as there are no easy games at this stage.

“We have to do the best to win the games and go through to the play-offs and that’s what we want to do. We have another game on Saturday against Rennes to prepare ourselves.

“The most important thing is the Champions League and everyone at the club wants to get there and have unbelievable moments, especially at Celtic Park.”

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