By Matt Farr
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has handed a shock recall to outcast Nadir Ciftci as part of his matchday squad to face St. Johnstone on Sunday – and fans on Twitter hope he can make an impact.
The 24-year-old striker has featured just twice since Rodgers took over at Parkhead in the summer, but his appearances came during their Champions League qualification campaign back in July – hence why his sudden return comes as a major shock.
The Turkey international had been linked with a move away from the club last month, but having failed to secure a new destination, was forced to remain at the club until the end of the season.
However, his return to the matchday squad to face St. Johnstone’s suggests that Rodgers may be prepared to give him a chance to fight his way back into his plans.
Upon hearing the news that Ciftci could have a role to play at McDiarmid Park on Sunday, Celtic fans were surprisingly in favour of the decision, taking to social media to share their views.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
A lot of people moaning about Ciftci but look at improvement BR has brought about in other players we thought were surplus to requirements
— Doc (@TheGreenDoc66) February 5, 2017
Ciftci the next player to come off the bench massively improved under Rodgers ? pic.twitter.com/H1RXklbsiy
— El Patron (@DhonElPatron) February 5, 2017
Scenes when Ciftci scores the winner
— Simply [⭐] Celtic (@TheHoopsFan) February 5, 2017
Nadir Ciftci is back ????????????????????????????????
— Cedric ???? #teamfada (@cedric_lambert1) February 5, 2017
Ciftci on the bench! If Brendan Rodgers can make a player out of him then there might still be hope for me yet! #miracleworker
— Robert Kelly (@robertkellyuk) February 5, 2017
Ciftci on the bench.
Big Brendan just having a laugh now.
He's picking U-15s side next week to see if he can keep unbeaten run going????
— Brian Steele ???? (@TheHullster) February 5, 2017
The way this seasons going I wouldn't be surprised if Ciftci comes off the bench and bags a hat trick today
— Karl Bradley (@karldbradley) February 5, 2017
Celtic have been without premier goalscoring duo Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths for their last two outings due to injury, forcing Rodgers to experiment with other attacking options.
Griffiths misses out once again, raising further doubts over his long-term future at the club, while Dembele joins Ciftci on the bench.
Rodgers has already drawn tremendous praise from Celtic fans for bringing Dedryck Boyata back from the fringes to turn him into a key first-team player, and fans are hoping he can do the same with Ciftci.