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Dundee United’s Deniz reveals good pal Nadir Ciftci’s glowing recommendation confirmed special status of club

Deniz Mehmet.
Deniz Mehmet.

Deniz Mehmet admits he always knew Dundee United was a big club – something confirmed for him by a certain Nadir Ciftci.

The pair have been pals since playing for the same team in Turkey as well as representing the country at age group level.

Striker Ciftci, of course, previously had a successful spell for the Tangerines between 2013 and 2015 before making a move to Celtic.

Deniz spoke to his friend about United prior to joining the club in 2017 and was given a glowing recommendation from the front man.

The 26-year-old keeper, who is hoping to be handed a start against Arbroath in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup game at Tannadice this afternoon, said: “I always knew how big a club Dundee United were and the history they have.

“I also spoke to my good friend Nadir Ciftci before coming to United. We have played in the national team for Turkey and in the same club side.

“He told me what he thought of the club and how special it was.

“It has lived up to his words, to be honest.”

Deniz witnessed first hand the huge backing United have with over 14,000 fans inside Tannadice for last Friday’s derby with Dundee that ended 6-2 in the home side’s favour.

It capped what has been a perfect start to the league season for the Tangerines and Deniz admitted the current run is going some way to repaying the fans for the troubled times they have endured in recent years.

Deniz said: “Everyone is still buzzing after Friday’s victory.

“None of us expected it to be that sort of result, to be honest.

“We all thought it was going to be a tight, scrappy game but the boys were absolutely brilliant.

“I think the fans played a big part in that. The atmosphere was like nothing I have experienced before at Tannadice.

“The full stadium just added to the result.

“It was great for the fans as they have stuck by the club during what has been a tough time.

“They are used to seeing the club in a much better place but hopefully this squad we have now can bring back the good times, give them something to cheer about and look forward to.”

Deniz watched the Dundee game from the bench with Benjamin Siegrist between the sticks.

He admits he has no problem with being second choice at the moment considering the form his team-mate has been in but he is determined to seize his chance for Robbie Neilson’s team when it comes along.

Deniz said: “Yes, I spoke to the gaffer over the summer and he made it quite clear that after the way Ben finished the season, he was going to start with him at the beginning of this campaign.

“So it was just a matter of me coming in and doing as well as I could to put myself in his thoughts.

“It is just the way it is. The team is doing really well and can’t change – you can’t argue with four from four.

“Ben and I support each other all the time. When I play, he supports me and when he plays, I support him.

“We get on really well but being goalie is just one of those positions where you are in or you are out.

“It’s not as if you can play further up the park or move back like some outfield players – you are stuck there.

“So you are either on the pitch or on the bench.

“Ben has been doing really well and it speaks for itself being four from four.

“Everything is going well on a team basis and that is the most important thing.”

Deniz added: “I am hoping to play against Arbroath in the cup. It will be good to get game time.

“It will be a good test for us as they are a decent side who have started the season well.”

Meanwhile, Dundee United legend Paul Sturrock is set to be inducted into the SFA Hall of Fame.

The striker is one of the club’s title-winning heroes and was also capped 20 times by his country.

Sturrock will be inducted at a ceremony in Glasgow next month.