Nadir Ciftci played almost the entire game as Celtic defeated Raith Rovers.
Ciftci is slowly working his way into Celtic’s first-team set-up after serving his domestic suspension, and Ronny Deila has told the Evening Times that the striker is still missing full match fitness.
Deila said: “I thought Nadir worked really hard. It starts with that. You can see that he has skills to keep up the ball. Now he just has to get match fitness and get into games. That is the important thing. Now he has got two games of playing time and he will get more in the future.”
It is no surprise that Ciftci is still behind his teammates in the search for full match fitness, having started the season later than everyone else.
Having signed from Dundee United over the summer, the 23-year-old was forced to serve a six-game domestic ban, meaning his only appearances came in the Champions League qualification stages.
Although the forward worked his way back to fitness during those games, the following month has seen him forced to sit on the sidelines, and only now is he ready to take to the field.
He played 13 minutes of League action in the loss to Aberdeen, before increasing that to 33 minutes against Dundee FC, and his 89 minutes against Raith showed that he is close to being ready.
Considering the form of Leigh Griffiths, it is unlikely that Ciftci will be starting games any time soon, but continuing substitute appearances will ensure the forward remains match fit, as he attempts to challenge Griffiths for the lone striker role in Deila’s set-up.