11 Feb Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson praises Nadir Ciftci for football focus
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson praised Nadir Ciftci for focusing on his game amid some heated moments during their 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup victory over Dundee.
The striker, who bit Jim McAlister on the leg in a Tayside derby on his final appearance for Dundee United in 2015, was the subject of inevitable booing from the home fans at Dens Park.
And he walked a disciplinary tightrope after being booked for a foul on Paul McGowan immediately after setting up Craig Tanner’s 30th-minute opener.
The Dundee midfielder joined Ciftci in referee Bobby Madden’s notepad after his angry reaction sparked a flashpoint.
And Ciftci was on the end of a reckless foul and a brutal body-check from Dundee debutant Genseric Kusunga either side of escaping further punishment for a foul on Mark O’Hara amid loud calls for a red card.
Robinson was glad the temperamental Turkish striker kept causing Dundee problems to help his side into the quarter-finals.
The Motherwell boss said: “He was involved in everything because he was holding the ball up for us, he was taking the pressure off for us.
“His talent’s unquestionable, but you saw his attitude was excellent as well. He didn’t get involved in anything. He kept going with his football.
“We took him off in the end just to make sure nothing happened when he was on a booking. But I thought he was terrific throughout, as was every player on the pitch.”
Ciftci and Curtis Main, who tried to claim Kevin Holt’s 56th-minute own goal, have given Motherwell a lift after signing in January, while Dundee manager Neil McCann endured familiar shortcomings from his team.
With Simon Murray cup-tied and Marcus Haber injured, Sofien Moussa started up front and missed a series of chances, although he was far from alone.
And goalkeeper Elliott Parish had a day to forget after letting Tanner’s volley go through him and then unnecessarily charging out as Holt headed the ball back.
McCann, who left new signing Steven Caulker out of his squad as he builds up match-fitness, said: “Again I’m in here talking about the chances we missed and the cheap goals we have given away. How often can you say that?
“As a manager and as coaches we have to keep working away, and the boys have to take responsibility, slow themselves down, deal with the pressure.
“It’s okay doing work in training but you have to deal with the pressure when the big lights are on and the crowd are here. That’s what we haven’t dealt with.
“And they are absolutely joke goals. They shouldn’t be in our net.”