Celtic striker Stokes vows to play on in SPL despite sectarian attacks
Published 29/11/2011 | 05:00
Celtic forward Anthony Stokes has claimed that he and Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty have been targeted by bigots because they are Irish.
Just 10 days ago, Stokes' house in Broxburn, outside Edinburgh, was attacked by yobs while he returned home after scoring Celtic's goals in their 2-0 victory at Inverness.
A window was broken, terrifying the Ireland striker's pregnant girlfriend, Debbie, who was alone in the house.
It was the second time the player's house had been laid siege to by a mob (the first was after Rangers beat Celtic 3-1 at Parkhead in October last year) and Stokes has subsequently relocated to Glasgow.
"Even before I came here I'd heard plenty of stories about things like that happening," Stokes said.
"But from a personal point of view, it doesn't bother me whatsoever. Being Irish as well probably doesn't help either," Stokes added.
"It's just the way it is up here. Any club you go to, you are going to get a bit of hassle, but all the eyes are on you if you are playing for the Old Firm and living around Glasgow or Edinburgh."
Asked whether being the victim of these attacks was part and parcel of being an Old Firm player, he replied: "I think so. If you are going to play for the Old Firm, you have got to expect that."
Stokes insisted the moronic attacks won't drive him away from Celtic.
"Not at all," he said. "I've loved my time here and this season has been one of the most enjoyable in my career so far. I want to try and stay here and settle down for a few years."
On Sunday, in the wake of Rangers' 1-0 defeat by Kilmarnock, a group of thugs smashed Lafferty's car windows at a supermarket petrol station in Johnstone. It's the third time in two years that Lafferty's car has been vandalised. Police are treating it as a sectarian incident. (© Daily Telegraph, London)