PIERRE van Hooijdonk believes Nadir Ciftci’s move to Celtic turned into a “disaster” because former Parkhead manager Ronny Deila insisted on playing him out of position up front.

Van Hooijdonk brokered Ciftci's £1.5 million transfer from Dundee United to his former club back in 2015 and had high hopes the Turkish forward could make the same sort of impact that he did in the East End of Glasgow.

However, Ciftci struggled to settle at the Scottish champions and was loaned out to Eskişehirspor in his adopted homeland the following season.

After temporary spells at Pogan Szcaevin in Poland, Plymouth Argyle and Motherwell he moved to Genclerbirligi in the summer.

His agent admitted that at times his client had looked like “he was playing with a massive bag of potatoes on his back” during his time at Celtic.

But he felt being asked to deputise up front for fans’ favourite Leigh Griffiths had been unfair and had led to supporters turning against him.

“The start didn’t help Nadir,” he said. “He came to Celtic with a suspension. Then the coach, Ronny Deila, saw him as a No.9. When we spoke I said: ‘He’s not a No.9, he’s not a prolific goalscorer, but he can play No.9’.

“At that time you had Leigh Griffiths who was scoring for fun. Nadir can certainly score a goal and can create chances, but he is never going to be a prolific goalscorer.

“His best position is coming off the left. At United he did really well playing there. I tried to make that clear, but they said: ‘We’re going to make him a No.9’. I said: ‘I don’t think that’s going to work, I think his best position is on the left’.

“He caught the Celtic’s scouts eyes when he played there for Dundee United. His problem was they saw him as a No.9 and he had to compete with Leigh Griffiths.

“If I am coach I am picking Leigh Griffiths every single time as a No.9. The fans saw Deila was giving Nadir opportunities as a No.9 and leaving Griffiths out who has scored . It is normal they don’t have much patience with him."

Van Hooijdonk added: “It never really worked out. When Colin Kazim Richards was signed as another striker in the winter break he knew that he wasn’t going to get a game and he wanted to go.

“If you sign a player you need to give him and honest chance in the position you signed him. Sometimes playing a player out of position works out, but sometimes it doesn’t.

“He didn’t play well. The start was a disaster. The fans turned their back on him. That is what happens in football. After that, his choices were also not the best. Now he is in Turkey, is playing often, scoring and is happy. He has his confidence back.

“At one stage at Celtic it looked as if he was playing with a massive bag of potatoes on his shoulders.”

Pierre van Hooijdonk will be playing in the Star Sixes, which reunites the world’s greatest players in national team colours to renew old rivalries in six-a-side action, next month. It will be held at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow, from January 4 to 6. Tickets from £20/£10 at www.thessehydro.com