CHARLIE Mulgrew says there will be no attempt inside the Celtic dressing room to persuade Kris Commons to make a return to the Scotland squad.
Commons announced his international retirement last May, declaring his desire to spend more time with his young family and focus solely on his club career with the Scottish champions.
The 30-year-old has been in outstanding form for Celtic this season and took his goals tally for the campaign to 19 on Saturday with a double in the 3-0 win at home to Motherwell which increased their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to 13 points.
Commons would clearly be a significant asset for Scotland in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign which begins later this year. But while Mulgrew would love to have Commons alongside him again on international duty, he will not be seeking to tempt him back. “That’s up to Kris,” said Mulgrew. “He knows what’s best for him and as long as he keeps doing it for Celtic that’s the main thing. I would think Scotland would welcome him back, although it’s a decision Gordon Strachan would need to make.
“But whatever Kris thinks is best, he knows what’s right for him and I’m not going to try and tell him. If that’s how he’s playing with the benefit of having a break from international football, then he’s probably better off continuing it. But it’s not my business, it’s up to him, although we’d welcome him back for Scotland.”
Mulgrew hails top scorer for stepping up to fill Hooper void
CHARLIE Mulgrew believes Kris Commons’ prolific goalscoring from an advanced midfield role has helped Celtic cope with last summer’s loss of leading striker Gary Hooper to Norwich City.
“There’s always going to be that kind of talk after Hoops left the club,” said Mulgrew. “But Kris is scoring the goals and I suppose he has kind of replaced him. The way the manager has us playing there’s plenty of movement and interchanging. A lot of the time, Kris does find himself in the striker position. That’s why he’s scoring a lot of goals.
“He definitely does produce something different and in a key area of the pitch. We’re very thankful for that. Kris is doing very well, scoring a lot of good goals. He seems to be taking every good chance he’s getting. That’s great for us and long may it continue.
“He is a stand-out candidate for Player of the Year. He’s scored some vital goals and scored a lot of goals. Along with Virgil van Dijk and a few others, he’s doing really well for us this season.”
Celtic remain unbeaten in the Scottish Premiership but Mulgrew is reluctant to consider their prospects of completing the campaign without defeat. “I don’t want to talk too much about it,” he said. “Obviously it’s been spoken about recently. But we’re just taking each game as it comes and hopefully we can go into the next one and win that as well.
“I know it’s a cliché, but we do really just need to take each game as it comes along. We can’t look too far forward. I know there will be folk saying, ‘You would say that’. But I can honestly tell you that’s genuinely what we’re doing.”
Celtic manager Neil Lennon hopes to make further additions to his squad before the January transfer window closes, adding to the captures of Icelandic striker Holmbert Fridjonsson and Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen who have yet to make their first team debuts for the club.
Mulgrew says any newcomers will be welcomed but the current squad are strong enough to bring continued success to Celtic. “Even if there aren’t new faces coming in, we’ve got a strong team spirit and we feel as if we’ve got a strong enough squad anyway to do well,” he said. “Having a new face can always help, but we’re happy with the squad we’ve got and we’ll keep going.
“Stefan coming in last week has given us another lift. We’ve got plenty of strength in depth now and Stefan will be welcomed in. He has got a challenge getting in the team. But he’s still young, so we’ll be patient with him. I’m sure he’ll do well.”