Brendan Rodgers lauds Nadir Ciftci's performance in Celtic's first pre-season friendly and drops hint about striker's future

General view inside Celtic Park

The Northern Irishman was taking charge of the Scottish Premiership side for the first time.

Celtic's Nadir Ciftci in actionCeltic's Nadir Ciftci

Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise upon Nadir Ciftci for his performance in Celtic's first pre-season friendly, but seemingly hinted that the striker's future is still uncertain, the Evening Times reports.

The 24-year-old's time with the Hoops had appeared to be at an end. After struggling to make much of an impact following his move to Parkhead last summer, the Turkish forward joined Eskisehirspor on loan in January.

Nadir Ciftci celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal for Celtic

In May, Ciftci told the Herald Scotland that he would prefer to stay with them beyond his loan spell rather than return to his parent club.

And while Ronny Deila's departure may have seen him potentially change his mind, the Sunday Post reported later that month that he was almost certainly going to be one of the men to leave following Rodgers' appointment.

However, his involvement in the friendly with Celje - where he got on the scoresheet to inspire the Bhoys' comeback as they came from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 in the Northern Irishman's first game in charge - has been lauded by his manager, but Rodgers also hinted that his future is still undecided.

New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during the press conference

"I thought he was excellent. 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," he told the Evening Times.

"We saw that, 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.

"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."

With Moussa Dembele already arriving, it is unlikely that if the manager sticks with a system that deploys one striker that Ciftci will have much of a chance to make more of an impact next season. 

General view of Celtic Park

However, if Rodgers decides to select two forwards, the former Dundee United man could almost definitely have a role to play as his game is much more suited to being the link between midfield and the main goalscorer, for whom he can lay off chances. 

And if Ciftci can continue with the form he showed in the first friendly, then it seems unlikely that Rodgers will be willing to let him move on. 

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