Celtic V Aberdeen at Celtic Park : Match Preview

15 March 2013 07:31
Celtic V Aberdeen - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Commons relishing Dons clash

Kris Commons will forever harbour positive thoughts when he comes up against Aberdeen - and Saturday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League encounter at Celtic Park will be no different.

The Hoops midfielder, 29, scored with a delightful chip five minutes into his Celtic debut against the Dons in a 4-1 League Cup semi-final win at Hampden on January 29, 2011.

It was the perfect if "whirlwind" start to his Parkhead career following his move from Derby and his subsequent performances have made Commons a favourite with the Celtic fans.

As the Scotland international prepares to face the men from the Granite City again, he recalled his memorable introduction to Scottish football.

"The game had barely started and I picked the ball up and before I had received it I had a little look and saw the keeper was off his line," he told Celtic's official website.

"I was in a confident mood and thought `why not?'

"It was early on the game when you think anything can happen and it dropped in nicely.

"It was a whirlwind. I don't think I walked through the door until the day before the game and was then thrown into the starting 11.

"I didn't really know anyone in the team but it was a great way to start my career.

"Some people said it was a cross but they had obviously not seen my previous goals. Most people who have seen me in training would know that I had meant it.

"I didn't really think about it too much after the game. When you first get your foot in the door, you just want to get to know the lads, see what they're like and make sure its a good group.

"I knew the manager from his playing days so I was made very welcome and it was easy to bed myself in and get off to a good start.

"It was a good way to begin my Celtic career and certainly looking back now, it was a good choice coming up to Celtic."

Mikael Lustig, Georgios Samaras and Emilio Izaguirre have all recovered from injury and return to the Celtic squad.

Midfielder Victor Wanyama is suspended although he has a "slight injury", according to manager Neil Lennon.

Skipper Scott Brown (abductor) James Forrest (back), and Adam Matthews (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.

Aberdeen have an unchanged squad. The Dons will again be without longer-term casualties Isaac Osbourne, Andrew Considine and Chris Clark.

The latter two are out for the season and Osbourne is still sidelined with a hamstring problem.

Aberdeen manager Craig Brown does not believe his retirement announcement will have any impact on his players during their final attempts to make the top six.

On Thursday Brown revealed he would step down as Dons manager at the end of the season but there remain eight games left in the SPL with the next three crucial.

Aberdeen travel to Celtic Park in ninth place in the SPL with games against Hearts and Dundee United to follow.

But Brown does not feel the certainty regarding his situation will have any effect.

"I don't think it will make the slightest difference," he said.

"Players are very resilient. Obviously they want to play for a manager they are pleased to play for.

"But it's their job to play football and if there's no manager or if (Jose) Mourinho came in or if Sir Alex (Ferguson) came back, they would hopefully be as enthusiastic for us as they would be for them.

"Over the years I'm not going to deny Sir Alex might make a difference, I'm sure he would.

"But in the immediate term there will be no difference in attitude."

Aberdeen have given themselves a huge task to get into the top six after taking two points from their last three games but Brown is not resigned to the club's fourth consecutive season in the bottom half.

"We have the second best defensive record in the SPL - only Celtic have a better defensive record," he said.

"So you need to defend well at Celtic Park and the evidence of the season is that we have defended well, particularly well.

"What we haven't done, everyone knows, is at the other end.

"So we take that good defensive record to Celtic Park, we take the enthusiasm and determination to try to finish in the top echelon of the league and I think you'll see a good performance."

Source: PA