Norwich City memory dear to Celtic’s Kris Commons
Celtic's Kris Commons has special reason to look forward to tonight's pre-season encounter with Norwich City – the club against whom he scored his first goal.
A decade has passed since the midfielder struck the equaliser for Stoke City in a 1-1 Nationwide League draw with the Canaries at the Britannia Stadium.
He was just 18 at the time, but that August 2002 meeting has real significance for Commons.
'I always remember playing against them when I was at Stoke City, as a kid, especially because my first ever professional goal was against them,' he told Celtic's official website.
'I picked the ball up just beyond the halfway line and played a little one-two with the forward and slid it into the bottom corner.
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'Norwich were always a big team when they were in the Championship. They were always up there fighting for promotion so this was a big deal for me. I'll never forget playing against them.'
Commons, who also scored for Derby against Norwich in the Championship in 2010, was one of the more established Celtic members to travel to Carrow Road nine weeks ago for Adam Drury's testimonial, and he enjoyed the experience, despite the 2-0 defeat.
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'It was nice to go down there and play that game for Adam Drury in his testimonial,' he said. 'There was already a connection because of the two managers – Paul Lambert was at Norwich at the time and then Neil Lennon obviously, both being ex-team-mates, but it was nice to form an even stronger bond that night.
'The fans were magnificent the whole way through the game and I think both sets responded to each other well.'
The 28-year-old Commons believes the Hoops will find the Canaries tough opponents at Parkhead tonight (7.45pm) in the rematch, with Chris Hughton this time in charge.
'It was good to play Premier League opposition and Norwich proved they are no easy pushover in the top division,' he said. 'It will be another good test for us and another good indication as to where we are in terms of preparation.
'We have a lot of big games coming up and this is definitely one of the big ones. People will earmark Inter Milan and Real Madrid but Norwich is another massive one. I'm not going to look at any and say one is going to be harder than another. They will all be big tests for us.'