Nadir Ciftci best in country, says Dundee United boss

Dundee United forward Jackie McNamara in action against Celtic
Nadir Ciftci scored United's goal in the original Scottish Cup quarter-final meeting with Celtic
Scottish Cup replay: Celtic v Dundee United
Date: Wednesday, 18 March Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; updates on BBC Sport website

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara believes striker Nadir Ciftci is "the best player in Scotland" on his game.

Ciftci, 23, returns from suspension for Wednesday's Scottish Cup replay with Celtic, having missed Sunday's League Cup final loss to the same opposition.

"He has everything," said McNamara. "When he's on it, he's unplayable and that's something we need [against Celtic].

"He's a big game player. If you know him, he's a fantastic lad."

McNamara accepts his top scorer is "temperamental" but insists that is not unique among talented players.

"Look at players in the past," McNamara told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound. "There's a thin line between genius and temperament, you saw [Zinedine] Zidane in a World Cup final, losing his rag [and getting sent off when France played Italy in 2006].

"You saw Eric Cantona do it, jumping into the crowd [in 1995 during Manchester United's match against Crystal Palace].

"Fortunately, Nadir's not done anything like that yet.

Dundee United players and manager Jackie McNamara looking dejected
United lost Sunday's League Cup final 2-0 to Celtic

"He's been blamed for quite a number of things in the last year-and-half up in Scotland, people wanting him banned and everything else, but he's never done anything that serious in my eyes, so far.

"It's taken work with him and trying to get the best out him to make sure he uses it in the right manner.

"He's just got to channel it the right way and use his passion and aggression in the right way.

"For me, on his game, he's the best player in Scotland."

Wednesday's encounter between United and Celtic is their third in succession and they will meet again in the Premiership on Saturday.

The original Scottish Cup quarter-final ended 1-1, with Celtic triumphing 2-0 at Hampden a week later.

"The disappointment's away from Sunday," added McNamara. "We're looking forward to the game and it's a chance to get back to Hampden again.

"There's still some big games to play. There's going to be a Championship team in the final anyway, either Hibs or Falkirk.

"The winners of ourselves and Celtic have got a tough task against a good Inverness side [in the other semi-final].

"Celtic are massive favourites every game they go into. We haven't beaten them at Celtic Park in 23 years so there's incentive there.

"There's a chance for the lads to create a bit of history."

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