herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Stokes not scared off

Anthony Stokes won't allow the Rangers thugs that attacked his home on Sunday night to scare him out of Celtic.

A mob of around 30 Rangers fans were reported to have targeted his home in Broxburn after Sunday's Old Firm clash which Rangers won 3-1.

Stokes' parents were in the house as the mob sang sectarian songs and at one stage threw a wheely bin at the living room window.

Numerous Celtic players, including Aiden McGeady, Darren O'Dea and current manager Neil Lennon, have been targeted for abuse in recent years with Stokes taking a philosophical view of the incident on Sunday.

"If you are playing at the Old Firm you have to expect that," Stokes claimed. "It's part and parcel of things and forgotten about.

"I don't think that any footballer should have to expect that but these things happen sometimes and there's nothing that you can do about it.

"When people have a few drinks they tend to do stupid things, I'm sure that in a lot of those incidents the lads have looked back and regretted what has happened. "Before I came here I knew plenty of stories of things going on, you just have to forget about it and concentrate on the football."

Stokes joined Celtic at the end of August from Hibs in a £1m deal having also played in the SPL for Falkirk.

He recently bought a house in Broxburn West Lothian hoping to avoid some of the off the pitch grief that Celtic players encounter.

Despite Sunday's incident the former Arsenal and Sunderland striker has no intentions of moving home again.

He added: "I was settled in Edinburgh and my new house is just over half an hour away from our training ground. I'm not going to be intimidated by people coming up to my house.

"It's just one of those things you have to forget about. I had people over (parents) but I just want to forget about it and concentrate on my football. I wasn't there at the time."

Meanwhile, Mark Wilson will continue his battle for first team football.

The 26-year-old right-back has been plagued with injury since joining his boyhood heroes from Dundee United in January 2006.

But after regaining his place in the side this season he was surprisingly dropped by boss Neil Lennon for Wednesday's Cup quarter-final win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Ahead of the return trip to Perth on Saturday on league duty, the former Scotland under-21 defender said: "Battling for your position is part of football and at Celtic and Rangers it's harder than at most clubs."

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