Former Celtic misfit Ciftci signs for 2nd tier Greek side

By Dave Flanigan

November 6, 2022

Former Celtic striker Nadir Ciftci has signed for Greek Super League 2 side Makedonikos Neapolis, his third team of 2022.

The 30-year-old had spent six months at MKE Ankaragücü, his latest Turkish club in a nomadic career so far, before returning to Scotland once again to sign for St Johnstone in January.

He had been a free agent until this week after being released by the Saints, but has now added Makedonikos to his extensive list of clubs.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

After a career-best spell at Dundee United, Celtic signed Ciftci in the summer of 2015, effectively replacing John Guidetti in Ronny Deila’s squad.

The Turkish forward scored a winner at Fir Park against Motherwell as well as a double against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, but truly never looked at home in Paradise, scoring four times in 22 games, with most of his appearances coming from the bench.

Ciftci departed on the first of four loan spells away from Celtic in January of 2016, joining Eskişehirspor in his homeland, his move coinciding with the arrival of Colin Kazim-Richards from Feyenoord.

Loans to Pogon Szczecin, Plymouth Argyle, and Motherwell followed, before Ciftci signed for Gençlerbirliği S.K. upon being released by Celtic.

Further moves to Çaykur Rizespor and Samsunspor in Turkey followed before his return to Scotland.

Just one of many unsuccessful Premiership strikers to sign for Celtic

Whilst many will forget that Ciftci even played for Celtic, he’s not alone in the ranks of players who scored freely for other Scottish Premiership clubs but failed to repeat the feat after signing for the Hoops

Whilst Scott McDonald, Leigh Griffiths and Anthony Stokes weighed in with their fair share over the years, the likes of Chris Killen, and Derek Riordan join Ciftci in the annals of domestic players who were unable to make the step up.

Celtic have generally looked further afield in recent years, and regularly found value doing so, rather than shelling out on the best of the rest when it comes to the Scottish Premiership, and largely with good reason, too.

Though he was a player who will be more remembered for lighting up Tannadice rather than Paradise, there’s little cause for begrudging Ciftci finding a more permanent home in Greece as he reaches the twilight of his career.

In other news: Veteran referee handed second straight Celtic assignment for Motherwell clash