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Wanted Celts would benefit from staying put

The news that Kris Commons and Virgil van Dijk have both expressed an eagerness to commit themselves to Celtic will be music to the ears of Neil Lennon.

There will always be the temptation to venture to pastures new but, as they say, the grass is not always greener. The key thing is timing.

Most players will want to go to England at some point - everybody wants to play at the top level after all - but the timing has to be right and I don't think it will do Van Dijk any harm at all to stay put and gain more big-game experience, which he can do with Celtic.

Look at Victor Wanyama at Southampton, for instance. He has been hindered by an injury, of course, but he has found it difficult to maintain his place. I'm not saying he rushed his move but when he chose to head south it was really only Southampton that came in for him. That's a warning signal. If you establish yourself for another year at a club like Celtic, you'll maybe have much more of a choice than Wanyama had.

Van Dijk is a very athletic, modern-day footballer and he'll certainly be good enough to play in the English top flight at some point. But he has to make sure that he is ready and that it is the right time. Players in a similar boat shouldn't just jump at the first offer.

It is the same situation in many ways for Lennon. You can't just pick and choose in the English Premier Leaguie and, given an offer, most managers would go for it. If you don't seize the opportunity, you may not get another chance. Like anything in life when it's there, then you grab it. Neil has been in the job for four years and the experience he has built up and the knowledge he has gained at Celtic has been invaluable. Would staying harm his career? I certainly don't think so.

Footballing fortunes can change quickly. Look what has happened to the likes of Alex McLeish and Owen Coyle in England. There are lessons to be learned and all of that will be rattling around Neil's head. Building for another assault on the Champions League will be uppermost in his mind and he'll know the areas that require tinkering. You don't need to be a genius to work out that Celtic are crying out for another striker.

If they are going to spend money, then they have to spend it wisely on a front man of real ­quality. It would surprise you who would come to Celtic because of the prospect of the Champions League and they have the chance to be there again if they can negotiate the qualifying rounds.

They may have two, three, four million to spend if they are going to push the boat out but that's all based on having that Champions League carrot to dangle in front of players. If they don't qualify, they can forget it.

I firmly believe that Kris Commons will win the PFA Scotland Player of the Year Award by a country mile but the runners and riders for the young player gong are slightly more interesting and that has made the race a difficult one to call.

Andrew Robertson's rapid rise, from rookie to Scotland cap, is nothing short of incredible and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets it but the transformation of Stevie May has been remarkable.

There was a point when he was struggling to get into the St Johnstone team and was perhaps going to be freed after stints on loan at Hamilton and Alloa.

His is a tale that should act as a great inspiration to all the young players who are doubting whether they will make it in the game.

May's never-say-die spirit wins it for me.

I fully expected the ­Scottish Cup final to be between Dundee United and ­Aberdeen but I certainly don't begrudge another of my old teams, St Johnstone, their place in the domestic showpiece.

Clubs like the Saints, provincial teams if you like, have terrific set-ups. The good folk behind the scenes do the hard work and put the money in but they sometimes don't get the rewards they deserve. Now they have.

After predicting a New Firm final, I've just finished wiping the egg from my face.

Perhaps St Johnstone's time has finally arrived.

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