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Thursday 23 November 2017

Stokes: Cup is big prize

ANTHONY STOKES won't let his guard slip when Celtic travel to Peterhead on Scottish Cup business at the weekend.

The striker made a scoring return on Monday to the Celtic side that won their 10th SPL match on the bounce at Dunfermline.

Third Division Peterhead should provide little resistance to Neil Lennon's on-form side but Stokes won't be taking anything for granted.

"We're in good form at the moment and want to keep that going," the 12-goal striker said. "The Scottish Cup is a big incentive for us.

"I was happy to score at Dunfermline, it was an instinctive goal and it felt good as soon as I hit it. We have gone about things professionally in the SPL and will approach the game at Peterhead exactly the same way."

The name of Ross County and a 2-0 semi-final defeat at Hampden will always crop up whenever Lennon and the Scottish Cup are discussed.

Last season Celtic picked up the trophy by beating Motherwell 3-0 in the final with the Hoops boss hoping to make it a clean sweep this season.

"We want to win everything," Lennon admitted. "We came very close last year, but they know they have to do better, we now have a better squad.

"I'm disappointed we're out of Europe. Domestically, though, we want to win everything. By all accounts the pitch at Peterhead is good, we would like the match to go ahead because we don't really want a backlog of games."

Injured Adam Matthews and Gary Hooper are set to miss Sunday's game.

Hearts have six days to comply to the remaining demands of the Scottish Premier League or face disciplinary action and unlimited sanctions after last night paying their players' overdue December wages.

Hours after the SPL had met and announced demands with a January 11 deadline, Hearts declared December's wages had been paid.

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