KRIS Commons only rated himself a six out of ten in yesterday’s Scottish League Cup final against Dundee United and thought he was lucky not to be substituted well before the 69th minute. But he scored the goal which settled Celtic’s nerves and he was delighted to have won a trophy which had proved elusive in recent times.
“It was great to win today but I thought I played c**p to be honest,” he admitted after the 2-0 win at Hampden. “I got caught on the ball a few times and didn’t see many passes and gave the ball away cheaply.
“I thought we were a little bit nervous today. We’ve not won this competition since 2009 so there was pressure on us because everyone is talking about the treble and how we need to win every game. That can all come tumbling down and in semis and finals before it has done. That’s not a nice feeling. We knew the pressure was on and the goal gave us that bit of relief.”
Commons reflected on his “highs and lows” with Celtic this season and the moment – at Hamilton when he threw his boots to the fans – when he thought the campaign might end abruptly.
“There were lows like going out of the Champions League and then spending a lot of time on the bench and thinking I might not stay. But I have stayed and now I’ve won a trophy. For last year when it couldn’t get any better, this season has been like a rollercoaster – a Big Dipper.”
He admitted that adjusting to Ronny Deila’s philosophy had taken time.
“He’s asked for a different approach but not to the point where we’ve been left scratching our heads. When you have so many players wanting to make forward runs then everything needs to be seamless. That’s what the best teams in the world do.”
He said he thought Celtic were a better team under Deila. “Last year we had a good team with exceptional individuals. Now other sides have to stop all eleven of us.”
Can Dundee United stop Celtic in Wednesday’s Scottish Cup replay? “That will be their team talk and their motivation, that we keep talking about the treble, and they’ll be going: ‘Let’s be the team that stops that happening’. Wednesday will be tough because they’ll be fired up.”
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon, whose comeback from a career-threatening injury has been one of the stories of the season, was thrilled with the win.
“A few minutes before the end it was nice to be able to stand there as the fans were singing and say to myself: ‘This is really happening. I’ve managed to do it.’” Indeed the Celtic goalkeeper enjoyed the celebrations almost as much as his daughters Freya and Emma.
“They absolutely loved dancing on the pitch and playing with the confetti and that was a great moment for the family. They’ve been the inspiration to get back playing and show them what their daddy used to do.”