New Celtic striker Nadir Ciftci banned for six games for biting
23-year-old forward found guilty of biting Jim McAlister during Dundee derby
New Celtic striked Nadir Ciftci has been handed a six match ban for biting while playing for Dundee United against Dundee on the final game of last season. Photograph: Getty
Celtic striker Nadir Ciftci will miss the first six games of the domestic season after being found guilty of a biting offence.
The summer signing from Dundee United received an eight-game ban — two of which are suspended — after being found guilty of biting Jim McAlister during a Dundee derby on the final day of last season.
The 23-year-old Turkish striker had denied the offence but was found guilty of excessive misconduct by a judicial panel convened by the Scottish Football Association.
The allegations emerged hours after United’s 3-0 Tannadice win on May 24 when a photograph appearing to show a bite mark on McAlister’s leg was displayed on social media.
The Scottish Professional Football League later broadcast footage of the incident on its official YouTube channel, with McAlister clearly heard claiming that Ciftci had bit him.
McAlister, who has now left Dundee, had tackled a grounded Ciftci before the referee’s whistle blew and several players became involved in a melee. Images show Ciftci with his head up close and facing McAlister’s leg.
The SPFL video — entitled ”Tempers flare in tetchy Dundee derby” — shows McAlister pointing to his leg and shouting to referee Bobby Madden that he had been bitten. A pitchside microphone is less than 10 yards away.
United commended Ciftci for his “tolerance” in the wake of what they claimed was “quite severe physical and totally unacceptable verbal provocation” after speaking to the Turkish forward about the allegations, which left him “surprised” and “upset”.
But a ban always appeared likely despite Ciftci escaping punishment on his two most recent disciplinary hearings at Hampden, for allegations of striking Inverness defender Gary Warren with his arm and for kicking Celtic skipper Scott Brown in the head. Both charges were found not proven.
The former Portsmouth player will miss Celtic’s six Ladbrokes Premiership fixtures in August, including a trip to Tannadice, meaning his first home game in the league could be against Dundee on September 19.
But he will remain available for Celtic’s Champions League qualifying campaign after making his debut in their 2-0 first-leg win over Stjarnan in the second qualifying round.
Ciftci’s ban bears comparison with the punishment handed out to Luis Suarez for his first biting offence — he was given seven games for an attack on PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during his Ajax days.