Hibs can put down ‘massive marker’ by keeping Kris Commons

Kris Commons, centre, has started Hibs four previous games but his loan stint from Celtic expires after the trip to Dumbarton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Kris Commons, centre, has started Hibs four previous games but his loan stint from Celtic expires after the trip to Dumbarton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Hibernian midfielder Dylan McGeouch insists extending Kris Commons’ stay at Easter Road until the end of the season would put a ‘massive marker down’ in the club’s pursuit of Ladbrokes Championship title glory.

Attacking midfielder 
Commons’ month-long emergency loan stint from Celtic will expire after today’s trip to Dumbarton and, despite Neil Lennon making it clear that he wants to retain the 33-year-old, talks between the two clubs and the player are still ongoing.

The Scotland international has started the Leith side’s four previous matches and was the match-winner in the narrow 2-1 victory at Falkirk on New Year’s Eve, netting a thunderous free-kick in the 87th minute.

McGeouch was a team-mate of Commons at Celtic Park and is hopeful that the playmaker will decide to pledge his immediate future to Hibs.

“It would give us all a massive lift,” said McGeouch, who has started the last three matches after being hampered by niggling injuries during the first half of the campaign.

“When you think of the level he’s played at, the goals he’s scored and all these games he’s played in, it would put a massive marker down.

“On the pitch, he’s great to have around. His awareness on the ball and ability is beyond question. I have had the pleasure of playing with him for a few years and learning off him so it is good to have him around the place.

“He’s still the same player I played with at Celtic. You don’t lose that – it’s only been a few years. You can still see he’s got the quality on the ball.

“He’s had a few games now and you can see with every game he’s progressively getting better, fitter and sharper. If we can get him to the end of the season, we’ll see the benefits of that.”

The Hibs players have hitherto refrained from badgering Commons about his future plans, but McGeouch, pictured, admits that could change after their visit to the Cheaper Insurance Direct 
Stadium.

He added: “It’s not got to the stage where we are trying to persuade him. Maybe after Saturday a few of the boys will give him a text to convince him to stay.

“But it’s between him and the two clubs so it’s out of our hands. As a team we would love to keep him.”

Hibs head coach Lennon has already warned about the pitfalls of playing at Dumbarton’s exposed 2,000-capacity ground, just eight days after the team romped to a 3-0 victory over title rivals Dundee United in front of nearly 19,000 supporters under the Easter Road floodlights. A Jason Cummings penalty settled the game between the teams at the Rock in September and McGeouch admits the trip west presents it’s own unique challenges.

“It is easier to go and play in front of 19,000 supporters at home,” said the 23-year-old. “It is not all in the head as adrenaline carries you through in a packed house under the floodlights. Away to Dumbarton on a cold day, they will make it difficult for us and these are the sort of challenges that you need to overcome.

“You have to give them credit as they know how they are going to play and they will set up to be compact and make life difficult. Dumbarton have made it difficult for us over the past few years. These are challenges you have to overcome if you want to win leagues.”

Should Lennon again decide to play with out-and-out 
wingers Chris Humphrey and 
Martin Boyle, two players who terrorised United last Friday, then McGeouch would be more than happy to play the defensive midfielder role against the Sons.

He added: “It was a different game for me last week – playing with the two wingers.

“I was more having to sit with Marvin Bartley in there, breaking up play, running about and chasing.

“It’s great when we do have the ball that we can give it to the wingers as they can hurt teams. I’m happy to play in any system that’s working.”