Stoke happy with competition

  • Last Updated: September 1 2013, 14:28 BST

Anthony Stokes has welcomed the competition new Celtic signing Teemu Pukki will bring to the Parkhead strike force.

Anthony Stokes is happy with Celtic's new arrivals.
Anthony Stokes is happy with Celtic's new arrivals.

The Irish forward scored his 50th goal for the Hoops with a late free-kick against Dundee United at Tannadice on Saturday to give the champions three Scottish Premiership points.

Neil Lennon claimed the goal would go a long way to securing a new deal for the former Sunderland and Hibernian striker who is in the last season of his current contract.

Earlier in the day Pukki confirmed his move from Schalke and the Finnish striker's arrival came 24 hours after 21-year-old Israel midfielder Nir Biton was signed from FC Ashdod.

Lennon failed with late bids to sign Peterborough striker Lee Tomlin and bring Manchester United left-back Alex Buttner on loan while striker Tony Watt moved to Belgium side Lierse on a season-long loan.

Stokes, 25, has become used to fighting for a place in the Parkhead first team since signing from Hibernian in 2010 and takes the threat from new recruits in his stride.

He said: "I haven't really seen much of the new signings to be honest but the scouting system here has been very successful over the last few years so I am no doubt they will add a lot of competition and quality to the squad.

"At as club like this it always happens.

"There are always players coming in and competition is good for everyone, it keeps everyone on their toes and I'm no different.

"My agent has been in touch with Celtic and we are waiting on them coming back. I am sure it will sort itself out.

"I love the club, they are a great bunch of lads and there is nothing not to love.

"I was delighted with 50 goals but the result was the most important thing."

Stokes accepts there will be more of an onus on him score in the wake of Gary Hooper's departure to Norwich in the summer.

He said: "There probably is a bit more responsibility but I am not feeling the pressure, I am playing my normal game.

"Since I came here my main aim has been to try to score goals and contribute to the team and that is not going to change regardless of who comes in or who goes."

Lennon and United boss Jackie McNamara, former team mates at Celtic, had words with each other at the end of the game which appeared to be far from friendly.

McNamara was unhappy at Stokes moving the ball back at the free-kick to give him an advantage and believed that cost his side a point.

He said: "The way the lads battled away, it was a bit of a sickener to lose it that way.

"But it happens. It is a thin line between drawing and losing."


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