Tuesday 25 July 2017

SPL title is Celtic's to lose, says Commons

Ronnie Esplin

Kris Commons believes Celtic are in the "ideal" position as their Scottish Premier League title race with Rangers enters its final stages.

The Ibrox club remain one point ahead of their Old Firm rivals at the top of the SPL following last week's goalless encounter in Govan, although Neil Lennon's men have a game in hand.

And Commons (27), looking forward to the home game against Dundee United on Sunday, knows the Parkhead men are now in pole position.

"It's in our hands now and that's how we wanted it after the Rangers game," said the Hoops midfielder. "So it is ideal for us. We are going into the run-in with everything to play for.

"There is a long way to go, a lot of points to play for, but I think we are in the driving seat in that it is in our hands. It is ours to lose or win. Dundee United is possibly the toughest fixture, yes, but looking at the fixtures they are all going to be tough because everyone wants to beat us.

"We are trying to win the league so there is added pressure of needing to win rather than wanting to win. But we are in a good state of mind.

"Confidence is high, we are playing well, training has been fantastic and when push has come to shove we have shown that we have the bottle, going to places like Dundee United and Kilmarnock and winning comfortably.

"So there is half the job done but we still need to finish it off."

If selected, Commons will assume penalty duties again after Georgios Samaras came up short at Ibrox.

The former Derby County player started the match against Rangers as substitute, which meant he relinquished the job to the Greece striker, who had his spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Commons supported his team-mate by saying: "He missed a penalty, but I know Sammy is itching to get playing again. He put a good shift in and certainly caused them problems."

However, asked if Samaras would be getting the ball for the next penalty attempt, the Scotland player replied simply: "No."

On the subject of hard-fought derby matches, Commons revealed his admiration for Lionel Messi after watching the Real Madrid versus Barcelona game on television on Wednesday night.

Ambitions

Messi scored twice to give the Catalans a first-leg lead in their Champions League semi-final clash. However, Commons will put his own Champions League ambitions on hold to concentrate on winning the SPL.

"It is something I can dream about, yes, because we have the opportunity to do that," Commons said. "But there is no point thinking about the Champions League if we don't get the job done beforehand."

He added: "At a football level, it is a different league to watch and Messi certainly turned it on in the last quarter of an hour.

"Messi is pure genius. He is more than capable of doing that week in, week out and I don't think anyone was surprised by it. The man is a machine, he is relentless, he never stops running or sprinting, he is a different breed."

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport