NEIL LENNON last night praised the continuing goalscoring excellence of Kris Commons and volunteered to attempt to persuade him to come out of international retirement for Scotland.

The 31-year-old moved on to 26 goals for the campaign with a hat trick at Rugby Park last night, and while the player himself appears reluctant to return to the national set-up, Lennon would prefer him to reconsider his position.

"Only he can answer that but I still think he has a lot to offer and I would still like him to reconsider his position on that at times," said the Northern Irishman. "He has got a lot to offer the international team. Our Scottish boys are playing very well, [Leigh] Griffiths, [Scott] Brown, [Charlie] Mulgrew and [James] Forrest, and Kris would add to that as well. I would speak to him about it, but not right now."

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Commons' goal return is all the more remarkable considering he has managed to replace the tally of the departed Gary Hooper despite usually lining up in a classic No.10 role or in even wide midfield.

"You always think Kris has got goals," said Lennon, who also praised the efforts of 17-year-old midfielder Liam Henderson on his first start. "But he is not an out-and-out striker. That is a return for a bona fide centre forward at any level. We never really play him through the middle and he has really plugged a gap for us."

While Celtic can clinch the title on March 29 at home to Ross County, even in defeat this was also a good day for Kilmarnock, with the news that controversial chairman Michael Johnston had agreed a deal to allow the club to shed its £9m debt. "It is fantastic," said manager Allan Johnston. "It gives the whole club a major lift. The chairman and Billy Bowie have been working hard behind the scenes and it is great they have got it sorted. But we have all got to pull together and try to get ourselves out of this position we find ourselves in."