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Commons: I didn't know last-16 berth was on line

KRIS Commons has revealed he didn't know the significance of his penalty when he hit the winning goal for Celtic against Spartak Moscow.

That goal is likely to be worth more than €20m for Celtic between prize money and gate receipts from another sell-out crowd for the last 16 clash in February.

Parkhead was on a knife edge entering the final stages on Wednesday night with news from Barcelona-Benfica eagerly followed.

Early in the second half, a roar went up suggesting that Barcelona had scored but no-one told the Celtic players that it had been a false alarm.

Asked how he felt stepping up to take the penalty, Commons said: "I had no idea Benfica were drawing. We got the impression Barca were ahead.

"All the crowd were cheering and we looked around at each other thinking 'Barca must have scored'.

"They were singing 'Xavi' or 'Messi' or something, so we thought they had gone 1-0 up and we would just have to hold out for a draw.

"When we got the penalty Georgios Samaras and Lassad (Nouioui) were the closest to the ball and they were discussing it between them, but as soon as they saw me I said, 'I will take it'.

Dream

"When I put the ball down I wasn't thinking, 'This is to take us into the last 16'. It definitely helped me that I thought Barca were winning.

"It is the sort of stuff you dream about as a boy. It is one thing to do it in training, and another thing to do it in a game when so much is at stake.

"I said to the lads that when I put the ball down I did not know whether to go to the keeper's left or smash it down the middle. I took a step on the way to the run up and thought about watching to see if he dived early and dinking it, but on my second step I just decided to smash it.

"It's amazing we thought Barca were winning when they were not, all because of the roar from the crowd."

Commons spent the closing minutes in the treatment room after being scythed down.

He added: "It was only when I was in the treatment room that someone said, 'We are through, Barca drew 0-0'."


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