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Friday 24 November 2017

Stokes cautious of banana skin

IRISH striker Anthony Stokes believes there will be no place for complacency when Celtic face minnows Peterhead in the Scottish Cup tomorrow.

Celtic travel east to Balmoor (KO 3.0, Sky Sports 1) as they continue their quest to retain the cup they secured last season.

Anthony Stokes knows cup shocks are always possible when the SPL clubs enter the competition at this stage, but is looking forward to the challenge and says the Bhoys won't be showing any complacency on the back of 10 consecutive league wins.

"We know what the cup is like, we can draw anyone and it will be a new experience," he said. "We know exactly what kind of game it's going to be and we're going to have to perform on the day. It's going to be tough.



PROGRESS

"There's no pressure on them whatsoever, but we want to progress so will go out and play as well as we can."

The Hoops have shown great domestic form of late, turning around a 15-point deficit to go two points clear at the top of the league, defeating bitter rivals Rangers in the process.

Stokes was unfortunate to miss two matches in December with a calf strain, but has played a big part in their fight-back this season.

Thriving on the confidence which comes with winning, he hopes to take their league form into the Scottish Cup.

"We're taking it game by game," he continued. "The run we're on at the minute is breeding confidence through the team and winning this game would be another step closer to where we want to reach.

"We're not going to take any game easily from now until the end of the season. Every game is tough and we know Peterhead will try and make it as difficult as possible for us."

Stokes is adamant the turnaround in form has been a team effort.

"We were leaking goals when we weren't playing well," he said. "But there have been a few games recently where we've had our patches, going through bad spells, and we haven't conceded like we were before."

Meanwhile, Celtic manager Neil Lennon will not reassess his January transfer plans despite potentially losing Beram Kayal for the rest of the season.

Kayal was initially ruled out for at least one month but Lennon believes he could be out for four.

Lennon said: "There are a number of players interesting us, but I'm happy with the squad. We've strength in depth."

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