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Commons calls on Celtic to raise bar

Celtic winger Kris Commons has warned that having a strong squad and being title favourites will mean nothing if the players do not perform to their peak in every game.

Shaun Maloney is set to return to a nearly-full squad following a four-month lay-off as Neil Lennon's men look to extend their two-point lead over Rangers in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League when they host St Mirren today.

Celtic are odds-on favourites to regain the SPL trophy with every leading bookmaker given the relative strengths of the Old Firm playing pools.

Rangers did not have enough fit players to fill their bench for the defeat by Dundee United while the likes of Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn could not find a place among the substitutes as Celtic beat Hibs 3-1 on Wednesday.

But Commons said: “I think on our day we're a good outfit but there have certainly been performances this year that have warranted the gaffer giving us a roasting, the Motherwell game comes to mind.

“It's important we keep our levels high and keep ticking over, especially at this stage of the season.

“Our main goal is the league and a lot of players didn't turn up at the cup final, so that kind of kicks you up the backside to get your mind in gear.

“That's the type of motivation we perhaps needed to seal the deal in the championship, that it's not all going to be rosy for us.”

Belfast Telegraph