Dundee United’s Nadir Ciftci believes David Goodwillie can be mentioned in the same breath as two other world-class strikers he has worked with in his career.
Goodwillie was the Tangerines’ hat-trick hero on Wednesday night against Partick Thistle in the League Cup, helping Jackie McNamara’s side to a 4-1 victory and on to a tricky-looking quarter-final tie in Inverness.
The on-loan Blackburn striker had sat out the two previous league games but more than made the most of his recall against the Jags.
Ciftci, who previously played for Portsmouth, reckons that once “Goodie” is fully back to his best he can be ranked alongside two other former Pompey players — 54-times capped England international Jermain Defoe and Nigerian legend Nwankwo Kanu.
He said: “Scoring four goals against Partick will be good for our confidence. Goodie scored a great hat-trick and I am really happy for him.
“I think he is getting back to his best and hopefully he will keep going like that.
“Sometimes you play, sometimes you don’t but Goodie did well to get back into the team and he has shown he is a world-class player with those three goals.
“He is a really strong lad with good technical ability and is a natural goalscorer, as he proved against Partick.
“We all knew what he was capable of and he really showed it. He maybe lost a bit of confidence at Blackburn but he is more experienced than me and I am sure I can learn a lot from him.
“I know what he did here before and I am sure he can do it again and in England.
“Jermain Defoe and Kanu are probably the best strikers I have played with back at Portsmouth. They are different types of players to Goodie but he is as good a finisher as them.”
With Celtic exiting the League Cup on Tuesday thanks to a shock defeat to Morton at Parkhead, the competition now looks wide open.
Ciftci was with Portsmouth when they made it to two FA Cup finals but did not play a part in either game.
Now, he would like nothing better than to help United to the League Cup final.
He said: “The last time I won a trophy was when I was really young so it would be great to win one this season. United have won the cup before and I will be having a look at some of the videos.
“If you want to win the cup, it doesn’t matter who you play, you have to take your chances on the day.
“I was at Portsmouth when they won the FA Cup but that was the season when I had just signed and I was really young.
“Then I was in the stadium when we lost 1-0 to Chelsea. I didn’t play so it is a bit 50/50 for me.
“However, being at Wembley and being involved in the final was a great experience for a young player. We may have lost but it was still a dream come true to be there.
“Anything can happen in the cup and, if United can win another two games, we can get to the final and maybe win it.
“It doesn’t really matter for me who we have to play.”