Hooijdonk shares details of Ciftci phone call

Image for Hooijdonk shares details of Ciftci phone call

Former striker Pierre van Hooijdonk has revealed what Celtic’s Nadir Ciftci had told him about Brendan Rodgers in a phone call last year.

Ciftci, 25, has found himself on the fringes of the Celtic first-team squad following Rodgers’ arrival at Parkhead last summer.

He made just four appearances for Celtic last season, before being loaned out to Polish outfit Pogon Szczecin for the second half of the campaign, where he failed to score in 10 appearances.

Rodgers has instead shown a preference towards Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths, who have been regular members of the starting eleven this term, leaving Ciftci short of game-time.

However, ex-Hoops star van Hooijdonk, who acts an adviser for Ciftci, has admitted that he has been given a glowing review of the Celtic manager from the current Hoops man.

Ciftci had insisted how different – and how much better – life was under Rodgers as compared to his predecessor Ronny Deila, who spent just under two years in charge of the club prior to his departure in June 2016.

He told the Scottish Sun: “I remember Nadir phoning me after the first day of pre-season last year. He said, ‘Pierre, you have no idea how different it is under the new manager.’

“Brendan impressed him so much – and when I watched the Celtic games throughout the season I could understand why. Under Ronny, there wasn’t a lot of excitement for the Celtic fans.

“I would watch games on TV and see all these green seats. When Brendan came in, everything changed at Celtic. The difference he has made to the team and individual players has been incredible.”

Rodgers is on course to lead Celtic to a domestic treble in only his first season at the club, which would be a remarkable achievement.

The Scottish club have not achieved the feat since the 2000-01 season, which was Martin O’Neill’s first season as manager of the club.

But Rodgers has gone one better than O’Neill by finishing their entire title-winning Scottish Premiership campaign with an unbeaten record.

He could finish the entire season unbeaten if Celtic beat Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final in two days’ time.

Van Hooijdonk, meanwhile, scored 56 goals for Celtic from 92 appearances in all competitions.

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