Commons: Celtic kids are Ron the right road

NEW Celtic manager Ronny Deila has still to take charge of his first training session with his new squad.

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Darnell Fisher, above, is just one player Kris Commons, right, believes has a big future in the Celtic top team
Darnell Fisher, above, is just one player Kris Commons, right, believes has a big future in the Celtic top team

But the Norwegian is in for a treat when he does - due to the of promising kids who are pushing hard for first-team selection.

That, at least, is the opinion of multiple Scottish Player of the Year award winner Kris Commons.

Serious doubts exist about whether star Hoops performers like Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk will return to Parkhead this summer.

Forster is currently in Brazil with the England squad preparing for their opening match in the World Cup against Italy on Saturday.

His involvement with his national squad, along with his form for Celtic in the last couple of seasons, is sure to have generated massive interest in the Geordie.

And it would be no surprise if the 6ft 7in keeper was the subject of a bid from a Barclays Premier League club in the coming weeks.

Certainly, the imminent signing of former Scotland keeper Craig Gordon would suggest Celtic do not expect Forster to remain in Glasgow following his stint in Brazil.

Dutch centre-half Van Dijk, too, has been linked with a move to the top league in England after an outstanding debut season in this country.

The commanding defender is contracted to the Scottish champions until 2017 and it will take a sizeable offer to secure his services.

Former Stromsgodset boss Deila is expected to meet with chief scout John Park later this week to discuss potential signing targets.

But attacking midfielder Commons, who scooped the SFWA and PFA Scotland awards after an exceptional 2013/14 campaign, believes he can put his faith in the kids.

Along with many Celtic supporters, he was impressed with the lads his former gaffer Neil Lennon elevated to the first team during his tenure at Parkhead.

And he expects more, much more, to come from the likes of Joe Chalmers, Darnell Fisher, Liam Henderson, Eoghan O'Connell and others under the tutelage of Deila in the future.

COMMONS said: "None of the young lads who played for us last season were nominated for any of the young player awards.

"It is a bit early for them to be challenging for those sort of honours.

"But I have no doubt at all that they will in the future.

"We have a good batch of young kids who are level headed and want to do well in the game.

"They will have to work hard to stay in the team. But I am sure that they will.

"We have got good players who are in the first team who will be hard to displace.

"But I am sure they are going to push them all of the way.

"Hopefully, having to fight for a game will improve them as players and bring their qualities on a little bit.

"We have got Liam Henderson who is just a teenager, but who has played superbly whenever he has been handed a game in the first team.

"We also have Darnell Fisher who is just a young boy, but who has not looked fazed by the step up to the first team in the matches that they have played in.

"These boys are just breaking through. But I have no doubt that we will hear a lot more of them in the future and they will challenge for the young player awards."

Commons enjoyed possibly the best form of his career last season as Celtic qualified for the Champions League group stage and won a third consecutive Scottish title.

The 30-year-old, who cost the Glasgow giants just £300,000 from Derby County back in 2011, slotted in over 30 goals in all competitions.

However, the skilful star was still not completely satisified with the campaign - due to the failure to make it through to the knockout stages of Europe's premier club tournament.

Lennon had his work cut out just to get into the lucrative group stage following the departures of Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Kelvin Wilson - the backbone of his team.

Yet, Commons knows that the demands at Celtic, a club whose history is steeped in European successes, are high.

He said: "We have been trying to rebuild on the back of players leaving at the same time as being competitive in Europe and that is not always easy.

"We had a really good campaign in Europe two seasons ago, but last season we didn't cut it. So we need to improve to get to where we need to be at this club."

Commons enjoyed playing in the same team as Van Dijk last season and is hopeful, despite speculation linking him with a move to England or abroad, that he will remain at Celtic.

The former Scotland international believes the 22-year-old can enhance his burgeoning reputation further by starring for the Hoops in another Champions League run.

He said: "Virgil did really well in Europe last season. He was outstanding in both of our games against Ajax. He was one of our top performers when we played AC Milan.

"People here are aware of how good he is. But when you aren't playing against Europe's elite week in, week out you don't get the same exposure.

"When you play against the world's best players then it is not just the Celtic supporters watching you on television. You attract a whole different audience."

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