James Keatings has witnessed first hand the ‘unbelievable’ quality Kris Commons possesses and insists his former Celtic role model can give Hibs’ title bid a fresh spark.
Commons joined the Easter Road outfit on a one-month loan on Friday to be reunited with his old Hoops manager, Neil Lennon, and was handed an instant debut in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Morton.
The 33-year-old could not inspire the Championship leaders to the victory that would have put some daylight between themselves and promotion rivals Dundee United, who are second only on goal difference.
However, Keatings, who was a youth player at Celtic when Commons arrived at Parkhead, believes the former Scotland internationalist’s experience can provide Hibs with the little bit extra they currently require to shake off United at the top of the table.
He said: “It’s a great signing for us. He’s a top-quality player and someone I looked up to when I was at Celtic.
“His ability shows and what he has done in past years is unbelievable. If he can bring that to Hibs he’s going to help the team hugely.
“Personally, seeing him coming in is a boost. He is a top quality signing, who is going to help the team.
“It’s great for us to be able to play with someone I looked up to when I was at Celtic, when I saw how good he really is.
“We’ve already seen in training some of the things he can do and will do, and we can learn from it.
“He can definitely give us a wee edge. Even after the game he had a few words in the changing room at Morton and the stuff he was saying can be good for us.
“He has been there and done it in and been in these situations, and it can only help us.”
Commons was a star turn at Celtic and will undoubtedly be the centre of attention over the coming days at Hibs.
However, Keatings insists the former Nottingham Forest and Derby County player will still get mucked in and will not take over at his temporary club.
The 24-year-old, who returned to the bench against Morton for the first time after eight weeks out with a knee ligament injury, added: “He was always good with me. He was the same as Scott Brown, he always spoke to the young boys and tried to help them in training.
“He’s a good professional.
“He has come in and he doesn’t have a big ego or anything like that. He came in and got involved in the banter straight away with the boys on the bus going to the game and was speaking to everyone.
“He’s a level-headed boy and just like everyone else in the dressing room, really.”
Commons has spoken of his desire to break his way back into the Celtic first-team but has also confessed to eyeing a move into coaching.
And Keatings admits it is up to his new Hibs team-mates to try to convince Commons he can have a future at Easter Road if Brendan Rodgers does not want him at Parkhead.
He continued: “Hopefully he comes and has a successful period, and enjoys it and then hopefully he does want to stay.”