By Amir Mir
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for young striker Nadir Ciftci as he scored the first goal of the Northern Irishman’s reign.
The Hoops drew 2-2 in their first game of pre-season in Slovenia against Celje on Thursday night and Rodgers was pleased with the mentality shown by the Celtic players as they prepare for the forthcoming Premiership campaign.
Ciftci netted the first goal of Rodgers’ new regime, but the former Liverpool boss was quick to praise the effort and mindset of the 25-year-old.
“I thought Nadir was excellent,” Rodgers said on Thursday night, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“He has worked very hard in training and has taken on board that the striker needs to be able to press and work, how we want him to play.
“We saw he was pressing the centre-half and the goalkeeper. He got in a good position to score. He held the ball up really well, so I thought he was excellent.”
A former Turkey Under-19s player, Ciftci signed for the Glasgow club last summer from Scottish club Dundee United for a fee of £1.5m.
Despite scoring four goals in eleven games, the Celtic forward was loaned out to Turkish side Eskişehirspor in January, but Rodgers insists getting the best out of the forward will be beneficial to both parties.
“I need to assess him. I’ve seen a lot of players for the first time but I had seen him as a young player,” said Rodgers.
“I remember seeing him at Portsmouth when he was really young against my son who was at Chelsea, and he was a talent then. He was mobile, if we can get that mobility back into his game he’s got a good idea for football.”
With new striker sensation Moussa Dembele in the ranks as well as 40-goal man Leigh Griffiths, the former Dundee United man will have his work cut out as he faces stiff competition for regular first team football.
As the new season beckons for the Scottish club and the mouth watering ties against rivals Rangers, including a difficult Champions League campaign, Rodgers feels his player has the talent going forward.
“He has talent. He’s worked very hard and it’s good for him to get the goal.” said Rodgers.
In other Celtic news, after Dembele capture Rodgers is ready to re-new interest in former player.