Former Hoops star Kris Commons has opened up on his final season at Celtic when he was left to train with youngsters at Lennoxtown, writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (10/02 print edition, Verdict supplement, page 12).
Commons was once the top dog at Celtic, with his 31 goal and 14 assist season in 2013/14 (Transfermarkt) standing out as the high watermark of his time at the club.
By the time Brendan Rodgers had arrived in Glasgow though he was coming to the end of his time at Celtic Park, failing to make a single appearance for the club in 2016/17.
Save for a loan spell at Hibs, it sounds like that last year was a complete non-event for the player, with his latest column detailing the frozen out group of four in the Hoops squad.
As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (10/02 print edition, Verdict supplement, page 12), Commons said: “You go from feeling like you’re on Everest as one of the best players in the country, to then being stuck in a hole and almost being shipped out the back door.
“During that first season under Rodgers, there were times when myself, Efe Ambrose, Emilio Izaguirre and Nadir Ciftci would be left to do our own thing.
We were kept away from the first team and left to do individual sessions with a fitness coach.
“In terms of ball work, we were training with the kids. Nothing makes you feel more of an old sod than when you find yourself having a kickabout with young lads born in the 2000s.”
Of that group, only Izaguirre would regain some sort of status at the Hoops, leaving then re-joining the club to make 19 appearances last term (Transfermarkt).
Commons was reflecting on the time when discussing Scott Sinclair’s situation, who sounds as though he went through a similar thing last season.
It’s never nice to see players stagnate at Celtic, nor hear of them having to train away from the first-team, but if these are decisions managers feel they need to take to keep their side as competitive and focused as possible then so be it.
Sinclair, like Commons, contributed greatly to trophy success at the Hoops and should be remembered for the more glorious days than the ones spent pushed away from the core first-team group.