Scottish Premier League

Commons grateful for rest

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Mon, 22 Apr 2013 19:21:00

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez has said he expects Lionel Messi will be fit for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg at Bayern Munich, despite the Argentinian maestro's hamstring woes.

Messi missed Saturday's laboured 1-0 win against Levante and two games before that for the Spanish league champions-elect since coming on to help inspire his side in their quarter-final second-leg with Paris Saint-Germain.

"He's very important for our attack and you could see we missed him in our last few games," said Xavi.

"I am sure he will be at his best so we can again see what an awesome player he is. It's important to have him in our ranks and it will have an influence on Bayern Munich if he plays.

Barcelona are competing in a record sixth successive Champions League semi-final and are looking to lift the trophy for the third time in five seasons after their successes in 2009 and 2011.

"We'll attack, we don't know how to play any other way and we need away goals, this is a strong opponent, but I think we are coming to Munich at the right time," Xavi continued.

"Ball possession will be crucial, we know we are at our strongest when we keep the ball.

"It's a 50:50 match, they are German champions, in their cup final and have reached the semi-finals without problems, which couldn't always be said for us.

"The Milan game was the reference for us, we held the ball very well, moved around and we had a lot of pressure from the back.

"We were playing completely on attack, the Milan match was the most important for us, more than the PSG game."

"We will try and dominate the game so we can take a lead back to Barcelona."

Commons was one of several Celtic players handed a break after they clinched the Scottish Premier League title with a 4-1 victory over Inverness on Sunday.

The Scotland international has been playing through an ankle injury in recent weeks and is hoping to swap his daily dose of painkillers for some sunshine.

Commons told Clyde 1's Superscoreboard: "It's come at a good time with picking up the ankle injury that's been bugging me for a couple of weeks now.

"Hopefully I can give that a good rest and go for 24 hours without actually taking painkillers.

"It will be a nice break from that and hopefully I can spend a bit of time in the sun and get my feet up and spend the best time of my life - and that's with my family.

"Every single day I've been taking painkillers and anti-inflammatories. It's just part and parcel of football nowadays."

Manager Neil Lennon will give other players a break next week with Commons hoping to be fighting fit for the Hampden clash against Hibernian on May 26.

"I've been getting through the games and just managing it on a day-to-day basis," he said.

"Hopefully this break in the sunshine will ease the pain and ease the swelling and I can feel as fit as I should be."

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