Life after Celtic: Kris Commons undecided on future

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon greets Kris Commons during Sunday's charity game
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon greets Kris Commons during a charity game at Celtic Park on Sunday

After six-and-a-half years at Celtic, what's next for midfielder Kris Commons?

The 33-year-old has been linked with a return to Hibernian where spent a month on a emergency loan in the winter.

But Commons, who has been struggling with a back injury for the past 12 months, admits he remains undecided about his future.

"I'll reflect on what has been and what is next going forward," he told BBC Scotland. "There are plenty of options out there and that's not just football. It's the other side as well, coaching, media. There's plenty of doors open."

And moving into coaching certainly seems to be on the mind of the former Scotland international.

"I've been lucky enough that I've played at the highest level," he said. "For me now it's about enjoying my football. If I can pass my knowledge on to younger players that would be great, but I just wonder whether that is going to be through a playing capacity or should I go into a coaching route."

Kris Commons scored on his Celtic debut against Aberdeen
Commons scored on his Celtic debut against Aberdeen

Commons moved to Glasgow in January 2011, signed by then manager Neil Lennon from Derby County for £500,000.

His Celtic career got off to the perfect start, with a debut goal six minutes into a League Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen.

He would go on to net 91 goals in 175 appearances, winning five titles, two Scottish Cups and one League Cup.

This season was tough. Injury-plagued, there was no opportunity to impress new manager Brendan Rodgers. His loan spell at Hibs yielded two goals in five games for his old boss Lennon before further frustration.

Unfinished business?

"I haven't been fit enough to play," he added. "I get to a half decent level of fitness then I have to take a step back.

"I had a good stint at training October, November, December, went on loan to Hibs, but as soon as I came back that's when I started feeling the back again. It's a very niggly injury that has caused me a lot of problems over the year.

"I still feel I've got a little bit in me if I can get to a good level of fitness, but I've not been able to get to that top level to get into this team."

So, does he try to regain the level of fitness required and continue playing or does he decide it's time to hang up his boots?

"I still feel I have got unfinished business playing but the doubt for me is can I get to the level where I'm going to be the Kris Commons everyone knows," he said.

"If I'm not, then there's no point dwindling away. I'd rather finish on a relative high."

Kris Commons was on target in a charity game at Celtic Park on Sunday
Still got it: Commons was on target in Sunday's charity match

While Commons has had to look on while Celtic completed an unbeaten treble this season, he is able to reflect on what has been a "magical journey".

"Some of the biggest highs were under Neil Lennon," he recalls. "I look back at my Celtic career and think I had a good run at it.

"I was probably naive when I came to Celtic. I thought I was a player until I realised the scale of the club and what it meant. It was a real learning curve.

"You see big clubs in England but this club is above and beyond anything I've felt anywhere else.

"My goals might be forgotten next year or the year after but the memories that have been created for me by this famous football club will last with me till the day I die."

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