KRIS Commons yesterday backed his Celtic manager Ronny Deila’s plans to stay at home during pre-season and claimed the squad were treated like “cattle” in the past as the club travelled the world chasing lucrative friendly matches.
The 32-year-old attacker was especially withering about Celtic’s jaunt Down Under in 2011, and pointed to the facial fracture suffered by Dylan McGeouch against Real Madrid a year later as evidence that the sums to be earned facing glamour sides in warm-up games can come at a price.
“I think [the management] probably realised from past mistakes that we are not cattle. Treat us like professional footballers,” Commons said. “Sometimes the travelling is harder than the game itself, but you start picking up injuries and you find it hard to get back in the team. That is the worst thing about it. OK, it might be a glamorous tie but it is just another friendly, and I am not a huge fan of playing in friendlies. Dylan McGeouch nearly got his head taken off in the Real Madrid game. He played probably the best 45 minutes I ever saw him play, he was outstanding, then he ended up flying back with half a jaw.
“The worst season I had was when we went to Australia in pre-season. It felt like I was on a plane for three weeks. It was shocking. I would stay in Scotland if that was possible and get games at Parkhead. The least travelling the better because we do enough travelling to get to games in Europe in the first place. I said it at the time, I absolutely hated it. I came back and then just started picking up injuries and fell out the team.
“Ronny likes to be on the training field and putting his point across. He wants certain sessions done on certain days to get you mentally right for a game and travelling is a massive inconvenience. The more time you spend on the training park and playing games that put our training practices into motion, that’s what he wants.
“He wants Champions League football and to do that he needs us as fit as possible, as quickly as possible. The less flying time the better.”
He wants Champions League football and to do that he needs us as fit as possible, as quickly as possible.Kris Commons
Commons was speaking at Hampden yesterday as he launched the voting for the PFA Scotland player of the year awards. The Celtic attacker revealed Aberdeen’s Adam Rooney would be receiving his vote with the striker’s 25-goal haul warranting a “special mention”. Commons also believes his team-mate Craig Gordon would be a worthy recipient.
“He’s been outstanding and the journey he’s been on with dodgy wrists, broken elbow, snapped knee tendon. It’s a fairytale story when you consider where he was two years ago.”
Commons believes that, short of guiding Celtic to the treble, his manager’s claims on the manager of the year award may be questionable – this assessment offered up a sarcastic aside on Neil Lennon’s failure to earn the honour in 2012-13.
“The year when Neil should have won it – last 16 [of the Champions League], won the league and the cup, and he didn’t win it shows you he’s going to have to do something remarkable to pick it up. I don’t think just a league and cup double would warrant a manager of the year because they always try and find someone else who is doing OK. I’ve got no idea why. It was the same with young player – which Victor Wanyama didn’t win [two years ago]. I think a few votes maybe got lost in the post.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS