herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Commons eye set on treble

Kris Commons has set his sights on the treble after an unforgettable Old Firm debut for Celtic.

Fifteen minutes into his first game against Rangers, the former Derby man silenced the home support with a stunning equaliser then trudged off the park dejected as he was replaced by goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska after Fraser Forster was red carded.

Commons watched from the sidelines as 10-man Celtic dominated Rangers, Scott Brown kept alive their treble hopes with a 64th minute equaliser to make the score 2-2.

Both teams will have to do it all again in a replay on March 2, with Commons looking to go the distance.

"We are still up for the treble and it's certainly something we have talked about in the dressing room," the new Bhoy admitted. It's in our mind and we have a good run going.



Confident

"We're hard to beat, we are confident and when you have a good team not leaking goals it can be lethal.

"In the second half we dominated play and the worry for Rangers is that they had 11 men and we were still passing it about.

"I watched most of the game in the press room on the TVs and for the second half I thought we had 12 men instead of 10. The stats coming up were astonishing -- we had 70pc possession with 10 men at Ibrox and that's credit to the lads."

Celtic could have been two goals down within five minutes when Steve Davis crashed a shot off the crossbar after Jamie Ness had opened the scoring with a wonder goal. Commons levelled in the 15th minute when he drilled home a Joe Ledley cutback.

Rangers were back in front before the break when Steven Whittaker converted a penalty past Zaluska after Forster was red carded for bringing down Steven Naismith in the box.

Explaining the decision to bring off Commons, coach Neil Lennon said: "We had to keep a strong midfield four and that's why I took off Kris. We've got class players in that department -- I thought that every one of them was fantastic today. Scott Brown was immense, he showed what a captain he can be and scored.

"His all-round game was fantastic. The midfield was brave, they kept taking the ball under pressure and did everything that we asked of them."



REWARD

Celtic pinned Rangers back for long periods of the second half and full-backs Mark Wilson and Emio Izaguirre at times made it a midfield six.

Brown's goal was just reward but the Celtic skipper was booked for the mildest of taunting at El-Hadji Diouf after netting from 20 yards out.

That goal means that the big two will meet each other seven times this season, with more battles ahead on February 20 in the SPL, March 2 in the Scottish Cup replay and March 20 in the final of the Co-Operative Cup.

Commons is looking forward to his next Old Firm clash.

"The goal was a nice way to introduce myself, but my game was short-lived so I look forward to the next one,' he said. "I'm a luxury player and when you are down to 10 men the manager has to sacrifice that luxury.

"You couldn't take Gary Hooper off as he's the form man and scoring goals.

"I was disappointed but you have to do it for the team."

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