Stokes issues title warning to Celtic


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The Independent Football

Anthony Stokes admits Celtic cannot afford any more slip-ups as they prepare to host Dunfermline in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Wednesday and aim to haul themselves back into contention in the title race.

Victory at Inverness at the weekend - combined with Rangers' goalless stalemate against St Johnstone - allowed the Hoops to claw themselves to within 10 points of the SPL leaders.

Back-to-back wins against the Pars, in their game in hand, and then St Mirren this Saturday would slash the gap between the Old Firm rivals to just four points before Rangers are next in league action at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Stokes believes recent results have shown Celtic do have the fighting spirit to resurrect their championship bid this season.

He told the matchday programme: "We're sticking together. We're all there, the gaffer and the backroom staff - we're pulling the same way.

"We just need to bring that bit of consistency into our game as we have shown we're up for the fight.

"I'm sure we'll be confident going into the Dunfermline game but we won't take them lightly.

"They've started the season well and it's going to be a very tough game, so we need to be on top of our game.

"Every team that comes to Celtic Park is up for it and we'll need to perform to our very best to get a result on the day.

"We can't really afford any slip-ups. Winning games breeds confidence and that's what we need to do now by going on a good run."

Stokes' own confidence is sky-high after netting a double in the Highlands to bring his tally for the season to eight SPL goals.

He said: "I'm just happy to be playing and keep working hard and keep trying to score goals and stay in the team.

"I've been scoring goals and the team seems to be improving ever so slightly. We're trying to get a bit of consistency back into our game.

"I think I always feel confident but as a striker, if you are scoring goals, nine times out of 10 if you get a chance, it will go into the back of the net. It's just one of those things."