BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
JAMES Keatings is desperate to justify being labelled Hibernian’s Kris Commons as he gets used to the new role given to him by Neil Lennon.
The former Hamilton Accies and Hearts striker has been deployed by Lennon behind the front pairing of Grant Holt and Jason Cummings and started the season with the new Hibs manager’s endorsement ringing in his ears.
The 24-year-old admits he still has work to do to acclimatise to the positional switch as Hibs prepare to host Queen of the South in tonight’s Betfred Cup tie.
But being likened by Lennon to Celtic fans’ favourite Commons has given him confidence he can make an impact in the coming campaign.
Asked about the comparison, he said: “I saw a few of those comments. My mate saw it first and showed me what the manager had said about me. It’s nice to read that.
“But it’s up to me to go and do that.
“That means playing every game, learning a different position and doing what he’s asking me to do. I need to play well just to stay in the team.
“I feel I can still get goals from that position. Last season, I got a good few goals from outside the box – which is where I’m likely to be more often, if that’s my position.
“Part of it is playing deeper, doing a more defensive role. It’s something I’m getting used to, enjoying it, although it’s harder work and more running.
“It does give me confidence that he wants to get me into the team. I’ve been doing as well as I can – and all you ask for is an opportunity.
“It’s up to me to keep playing well and stay in his plans.”