Kris Commons’ whirlwind emergency loan from Celtic to Hibernian on Friday evening, threatened to overshadow events at Cappielow, as Hibs dropped a precious two points but kept their noses in front of Dundee United in the race to be the Christmas Championship No 1.
Commons was drafted straight in at the expense of Jason Cummings, but it was the latter who was to claim the plaudits when he cracked in a magnificent free-kick in 81 minutes, just five minutes after coming on for Liam Fontaine. It was Cummings’ first goal in three months.
It was a strike of immense importance, levelling for the Easter Road side after Gary Oliver had given Morton the lead two minutes earlier.
Cummings, pictured right, said: “I’ve been practising my free-kicks for two weeks, even at half-time I was practising them. I was surprised it was open for me. I thought Kris would have taken it, but maybe it was because he was just in the door. Maybe in the next few week’s he’ll grab it.
“It’s been a long time coming, I’ve not scored for ages. I used to take goals for granted, now I’m just grateful.
“I had a spring in my step and took my chance. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to be on the bench. It’s up to the manager, it’s not my decision, but I didn’t let it get to me and I always try my hardest when I’m on the pitch.
“It’s massive for the club to have Kris [Commons] and I hope to learn a lot from him. His passing and technical abilities are unbelievable.”
Commons played through the full 90 minutes, his first game in ten months, which delighted manager Neil Lennon. And the 33-year-old, who was involved in all the set-pieces except for Cummings’ goal, almost marked his debut with a goal in 65 minutes when he spotted goalkeeper Derek Gaston off his line, but his deft chip drifted just over.
Commons, reflecting on his Hibernian debut, said: “I was injured when Brendan Rodgers came in and he knew I was going to be out for another couple of weeks.
“He knew he needed to know his squad for some important Champions League qualifiers and he said to me: ‘Listen, you’re injured, and I know you will work hard and train hard, and the door is never shut at Celtic. But if you are looking for regular first-team football, then I might struggle to give you that at Celtic.’
“But he never said I was finished at the club. I just knew I couldn’t play week in, week out. I had to have respect for that. It was no longer a given that I would be playing week in, week out.”
Commons revealed that he still has a lingering hope that his four-week sortie with Hibernian will kick-start his Celtic career.
He added: “Listen, I never want to leave Celtic. They will have to kick me out the door. Once my contract is up, that’s the way it’s going to be. I’ve spent six of the best years of my career at Celtic, winning trophies, winning a player of the year award. For me it has been an absolute roller-coaster ride that I don’t want to get off.
“I’m going to take this loan period day by day, game by game. I’m going to work hard in training and play my part in these next four weeks. You never know what might happen. But I’m not looking beyond that at the moment. Neil has done me a favour and asked me to come and play in these games. I’ve been happy to oblige.
“It’s a good few weeks for me and obviously, with Celtic heading out to do some international training, it gives me an opportunity to keep training. And there is nothing better than playing football in matches rather than just doing the training.
“I’ve got no plans. All I’m planning are these four weeks ahead.”