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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Stokes' stunning brace books Cup final spot for Celtic

A DOUBLE from Anthony Stokes against Falkirk booked Celtic's place in the League Cup Final against Kilmarnock as Neil Lennon prepared to welcome Pawel Brozek to Parkhead.

The Polish striker will complete a loan deal from Trabzonspor before the transfer window closes as Celtic chase a domestic treble.

First Division Falkirk made it tough for Celtic but a 25 yard free-kick from Stokes in the 56th minute followed by a tap in four minutes from time ensured that there would be no upset.

The double took Stokes' goal tally for the season to 17 - one ahead of Gary Hooper - with the former Sunderland and Arsenal striker welcoming the arrival of Prozek as the season enters a crucial phase.

"We're a little bit light up front," Stokes admitted. "If we get an injury it would be a problem so it's good for the club to bring someone in. Hopefully it will spur the other strikers on.

"We're in a good position but taking things game by game. We've got two very tough away games coming next, at Inverness and Hearts, but we're on a good run at the minute, our confidence is high and we'll try to play our usual game.

"At the start of the season we weren't in full flow. We weren't playing the best type of football but if you look at the last dozen games we're in a better groove."



Equalised

A Scott Brown penalty opened the scoring for Celtic but Falkirk equalised before the break through Jay Fulton.

The First Division side made a flying start to the second half but a brilliantly executed free-kick from Stokes 11 minutes into the second period put Celtic back in front.

With the free-kick centrally positioned Stokes won the argument with left-footed Charlie Mulgrew.

"The two of us practice them in training and I fancied it, it was slightly over to the left and that suited me more," said Stokes.

"That's what I said to Charlie and the only thing that matters is it ended up in the net. On another day we could have scored a few more but we're delighted to be in the final."

The final will take place at Hampden on Sunday, March 18.

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