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Celtic hero Commons benched again by Deila; is he poised for January exit?

Kris Commons was left out of Celtic's starting line-up yet again on Sunday.

Celtic's recent good run of form came to an end on Sunday, losing 2-1 to Dundee United as their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership was cut to just four points.

Goals from Nadir Ciftci and Stuart Armstrong handed United the win, and whist Leigh Griffiths pulled one back, it wasn't enough to drive Celtic on to grab an equaliser.

Blame has been placed at the feet of manager Ronny Deila, centre back Virgil van Dijk and striker John Guidetti in some parts, but one of the more interesting aspects of Celtic's defeat was the continued absence of Kris Commons.

Commons, 31, hit 32 goals in 48 games in all competitions last season. From midfield. That's frankly remarkable, and he rightly headed into the season as Celtic's key player.

Yet the departure of manager Neil Lennon and the arrival of Deila has led to differing fortunes for ex-Derby and Nottingham Forest midfielder Commons.

In the last three league games, Commons has been on the bench for every single one, though he did come on with 30 minutes to play against Dundee United on Sunday.

Out of contract in the summer of 2015, Commons appears to be heading for the exit, with Premier League and Championship clubs no doubt queuing up to land his signature in the January transfer window. Fans are resigned to it. They know that Commons' association with the Bhoys is coming to an end - but why?

Just three goals in 11 league games is a noticeable drop off from last season's tally for Commons, with Deila now preferring to use Stefan Johansen as the attacking midfielder in his 4-2-3-1 system.

Johansen was a player who thrived alongside Deila at Stromsgodset in Norway, and it's little surprise that he's using him as a focal point once again; though it shouldn't be at the expense of Commons.

Ask Johansen to play deeper. Use Commons from the left. Try and accommodate both, because right now Celtic are about to lose a midfielder who has scored 72 goals in 171 games for a pittance next month - and that's unforgiveable given his importance to the team in recent seasons.

It seems like Deila is trying to prepare for life without Commons, but it didn't have to be this way. Commons could well have signed a new contract with more faith from his manager, but the situation has rumbled on and on, which will lead to an inevitable divorce in January.

It's a shame to see Commons' Celtic career fizzling out like this, and should he go on to have success back in England, fingers will be pointed at Deila as to why he didn't use him more.

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