Nadir Ciftci produced a superb two-goal display in the blitz of Accies and then told the assembled press of his divided loyalties ahead of this Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.
The Motherwell striker has been on loan from Celtic since January, and the rules mean that he can’t play for ’Well against the Hoops in front of 50,000 fans at Mount Florida.
Turkish striker Ciftci (26) said: “The final will be strange because both of them are my teams.
“I’ve played for half a season here with Motherwell, but my contract is still with Celtic.
“It will be mixed feelings for me. Who will I support? Oh, I don’t know — I’m sure the best team will win. I will be there cheering in the stand with a half-and-half suit!
“Obviously, I know Celtic very well but, if any team in this league can give them a hard game, I honestly believe it’s Motherwell. We have already seen the teams draw 0-0 this season.
“The way Motherwell play — getting in your face and being really aggressive — can cause any team problems.
“Motherwell have been brilliant as a team — compact and strong. That is their best chance against Celtic, to win second balls and hit them on the counter.
“I think Motherwell were also maybe a little unlucky in the League Cup final against Celtic.
“On Saturday they just need to believe in themselves and they can definitely do it.
“I’ve said since I arrived at Motherwell that I wanted to get to another cup final.
“So of course it’s frustrating to reach one and then not actually be able to play in it — but I am thankful to Motherwell for the memories that everyone at the club has given me.
“They have given me so much that I feel part of the team, even though I won’t be on the pitch.
“I’m so grateful and I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve been here. My season will be finished next Saturday so I’ll still be involved with the boys even if I’m not playing.
“I’ll go back to Fir Park after the cup final for whatever is happening but it will only be soft drinks for me as I don’t drink.”
Ciftci’s ineligibility for this Saturday’s Hampden showpiece is an obvious annoyance to Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson.
Robbo said: “Nadir certainly would have enhanced our options whether starting or from the bench,” said Robbo, whose team finished seventh in the top flight.
“It’s disappointing he can’t play next week. It reduces our options.
“When Nadir plays like that he is unplayable.
“He is a special talent but he’s not fit.
“If he got fit and we got him fit then he could do that week in, week out.
“But he’s a super boy. People told me not to sign him, people tried to put me off him as a character, and I can refute that completely.
“He has been great around the club. He was excellent.”
When asked about the prospect of re-signing him, Robinson said: “We can maybe look at it, but the financial gap with what we could pay him would probably make that extremely difficult.
“But he’s a boy I have so much time for and a lot of respect for. With Nadir’s quality, we were able to rest the two boys up front (Ryan Bowman and Curtis Main) who had little niggles.
“A lot of our changes were based on people carrying niggles rather than wholesale changes.”