Kris is eager to show scots the Commons touch

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Commons is looking to make an impact for Scotland on the back of his success at Parkhead
Commons is looking to make an impact for Scotland on the back of his success at Parkhead

The opportunity to book your place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a win in Lisbon is less than a week away.

In the middle of that tasty sandwich, the prospect of playing for a beleaguered Scotland in a friendly in Luxembourg might be less than appealing.Especially when you consider the national team is without a manager following the debacle which has been the opening four games of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Added to that, your club manager has made it public he does not think his players should be involved in such friendlies at this crucial stage of their season.

But Kris Commons has pushed all of the above to the back of his mind and is eager to play his part in restoring international sanity to the Scotland set-up, even if respectability is some way further down the line for the country which has fallen to 70th place in Fifa's rankings.

The madness which has followed the double defeats to Wales and Belgium has clearly pricked his pride.

Commons said: "Every Scotland game is important, especially for myself after just getting back into the squad. I want to play a part and try to put in a good performance to put myself in line for the next couple of games.

"It is good we have youngsters coming through, lads who have never had a call-up before and who have been given an opportunity to play for their country. That is the value of an international date like this one.

"I remember from when I initially got the call up to the squad, you are itching to play for your country, especially for the first time.

"Just being in and around the sort of players who play week in, week out in the Premier League and the SPL is a great experience. I know there are going to be some youngsters who will be very keen to play."

As Commons is himself. He has already had a heavy schedule of games for Celtic, with many more to come as they competes across four competitions.

But winning his 12th cap is still very much on his agenda, even if his Hoops boss would rather that had to wait.

"If there was any doubt that I didn't want to play, I would have a word with the manager himself," said Commons. "But I feel relatively good. We've had some tough games recently, but I am here to play my part. I want to give everything for the cause.

"As soon as you start thinking about perhaps resting yourself or injuries, you end up picking up an injury.

"I feel I'm playing relatively well at the moment and want to play from the start and for as long as possible."

Commons has put his issues with Craig Levein and non -selection, following his call off from a tournament two years ago, well behind him.

He said: "I love playing for Scotland and being a part of the squad, playing with top-quality players. I'm itching to get back in on a regular basis.

"When you are not involved, you are kicking your heels, scratching your head and thinking what might have been. I want to try and establish myself again."

Commons also wants to help Scotland regain some stability after another horror start to a qualifying campaign which leaves them languishing in bottom spot in Group A after four games.

The opening draws with Serbia and Macedonia put them behind the eight ball from the start, and the defeats in Cardiff and Brussels have left them snookered.

Commons was still on the outside looking in when the campaign started at Hampden in September, but reflected: "Not taking advantage of our home games certainly put pressure on us in our away games. But going into the Wales tie, I was fully confident we could beat them.

"Man for man, we had more than enough to win. And on any other night we could have won quite comfortably."

HE ADDED: "But it was just one of those freaky things where you come off the park thinking we would have been disappointed with a draw.

"So to come off defeated, it was hard to pick yourself up, go to Belgium where you know backs were going to be against the wall from the start and for most of the game."

Commons still winces at the memory of that tough night and said: "A point from Belgium would have been magnificent. We tried to make it difficult for them, but they are a top, top quality side.

"When you have people like Eden Hazard coming on, you know you are up against a world-class team. They would give anyone a game.

"We did more than enough to win that game in Cardiff. We had worked so hard to stop Gareth Bale. But in the last few minutes he gets the ball and sticks one in a top corner.

"There are only a couple of players in the world capable of doing that.

"It was the kind of roll Scotland were on at that time, when you are down at the bottom and low on confidence, and things are not quite going your way."

Tonight has to be the first step in rebuilding that confidence and credibility. There are no qualifying points on the line, but there is still enough to demand everyone's full attention.

Adversity can often open the door to opportunity, and Commons hopes some of the new lads called up, including Andrew Shinnie, grasp it.

He said: "This will be a good balance between experience and young guys.

"Perhaps more experienced players might just have been looking to get through the game with no injuries and get back to their clubs.

"I'm hoping the eager youngsters and those who have not been called up before bring that energy and enthusiasm to the game."

A victory would only be the first step on the long road to recovery.

But by the time the squad regroup for their next friendly against Estonia in February, the picture could be brighter, with a new man calling the shots.

Then, when the second phase of qualifiers kick off in March, Commons reckons it will feel like starting all over again, albeit with ground to make up on the race leaders.

That's well down the line. For now, he is focusing only on the here and now.

"It's kind of weird when you are joining up with the squad and there are so many call offs and different people coming in," he admitted.

"It's like a transitional period with a different manager, new coaches, different people.

"But you have just got to try and do a job, and hopefully, do your country proud by getting the result to put us in good stead for whenever the new manager comes in."

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