Kris Commons is a walking, talking reminder of just how important the Europa League group stages can be to Scottish clubs.
Four years ago, he was a key member of Ronny Deila’s Celtic side chasing consolation in UEFA’s second club competition after exiting the Champions League at the hands of Malmo.
Held to draws by both Ajax and Fenerbahce in their first two group fixtures, they travelled to Norway to meet Molde, knowing they had to get a positive result to be in with a chance of progressing.
However, on a wretched night of thunder, lightning and driving rain, Celtic crashed to a 3-1 defeat.
And the meltdown of Commons on being substituted was seen as emblematic of the Hoops’ issues at the time.
“I totally regret that night, 100%. It was idiotic behaviour,” said 36-year-old Commons.
“I’ve got young children myself now and nephews. For them to see their dad and uncle behaving like that is not great.
“I was frustrated, but even then, you get paid to be a professional athlete and role model. You’re an inspiration to some people.
“That was totally out of character for me. I’d never done that kind of stuff in my life.
“I think I had too much energy drink that night. I was completely out of order and I definitely regret it.”
Nothing is certain in football, but it is fair to say it would be a shock of seismic proportions were Odsonne Edouard, a star of the current day Celtic side, to throw a similar strop on his return to France for Thursday night’s group opener against Rennes.
Bought for a club record fee of £9-million from Paris Saint-Germain last year, Edouard has been a model professional.
Dominant domestically for his club, he carried that form into the France Under-21 side, hitting four goals in games against Albania and the Czech Republic during the international break to spark comparisons with Moussa Dembele, who Lyon paid Celtic £20m for in 2018.
For Commons, Edouard is pivotal to his team’s hopes of staying in Europe until after Christmas.
“I really rate Edouard. If he can stay fit, Celtic have got a good opportunity to progress,” said Commons.
“I remember speaking to Scott Brown around the time there was talk of Moussa Dembele leaving.
“Odsonne was still on loan from PSG then. I asked Broonie how he was getting on, and he said he was going to be better than Dembele.
“I said: ‘Really’? Broonie said: ‘Yeah, because he has everything’.
“And he has. He’s powerful, he’s a great runner, he can hold it in and link up play. He can also score with both feet.
“It’s not arrogance, but he’s got that bit of swagger about him that you need if you are going to be a top player.
“Edouard is improving with every performance. He is more of a natural goal threat now.
“When he first came in, he’d go out on the wing and drift out of games.
“He has now become that focal point for Celtic’s attack. He is a pivotal player now.
“They have spent £9m to get him from PSG. Now you would be looking at double that to get him.
“Kieran Tierney went for £25m, but paying that for Odsonne would be a snip for the big clubs.
“He ticks every single box and he is only going to get better. I would have loved to play in behind him, that’s that for sure.”
Kris Doolan’s Testimonial, between a Partick Thistle and Celtic Legends teams, takes place at Firhill today with a 4pm kick-off.
The Jags legends team will include famous old faces such as Alan Archibald, Gerry Britton and Chic Charnley, while the Celtic side will include Lubo Moravcik, Kris Commons and Jackie McNamara.
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