Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, compared Kris Commons to club icon Lubo Moravcik last night and predictably confirmed that the club will keep the 30-year-old for another season.
Commons scored twice and was the outstanding performer as Celtic won 4-0 at St Mirren yesterday, maintaining their unbeaten SPFL Premiership record and extending their league sequence to seven clean sheets. Commons has 51 goals in 129 appearances since joining Celtic in 2011. He joined for a fee of £300,000, the same spent to bring the then 33-year-old Slovak to the club in 1998. He became one of the most popular modern Celtic players.
Commons, a former Scotland internationalist, is out of contract at the end of this season but the club has the option of keeping him for another year, and will. "I make comparisons with Lubo," said Lennon. "Lubo was a magician. Kris is a little bit more direct, but he is dynamite with both feet. He is intelligent, his movement is very good and he is probably our best player, as Lubo was back in the day. He probably doesn't have the natural skills Lubo has but he is certainly more of a goal threat.
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"It's all about making the most of your time here. Kris is writing a very good legacy for when he does retire. He is a player I believe will get better because there are aspects of his game he can work on. At 30, the penny drops, but his goal return this season has been good and he's so important for us. He's got three, four, five good years still in him and he's getting better. We have an option on Kris. I'd say we would be taking it . . ."
Celtic today fly to Turkey for a week-long break and two games in the Antalya Cup. Georgios Samaras will not be travelling and Lennon revealed the Greek striker, who is free to leave at the end of the season, had discussions with club chief executive Peter Lawwell on Saturday. "It's a big contract for him. Georgios is 29; the next three or four years of his career are important. We would like him to be here, but it may not be the case."
Joe Ledley is in the same position and his agents will speak with Lawwell tomorrow, with Celtic more confident he will sign a new contract.
Danny Lennon, the St Mirren manager, criticised his team's wastefulness in possession but was not too downhearted overall. "I can take a lot from the first half in terms of how we competed with a quality side. At half-time I felt we were growing in confidence but, in the second half, Celtic turned it up a couple of notches and we have been seriously punished. It's how you react to losing the first goal against Celtic. But it's easy saying 'don't let it affect you'. It did with us."
Lennon said he hopes to make two January signings and one will be a striker. He also confirmed that midfielder Kenny McLean will have a knee operation on Friday which will rule him out for four to six weeks.