Thursday 29 September 2016

Ronny Deila claims Anthony Stokes has Celtic future despite imminent loan move

Andy Newport

Published 13/01/2016 | 16:10

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes
Celtic striker Anthony Stokes

Anthony Stokes still has a Celtic future according to Parkhead boss Ronny Deila - even though the Irishman is edging closer to a loan move.

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Both Hibernian and Inverness are keen to land the out-of-favour frontman this month.

Stokes has not featured for Deila's team since August and was forced to apologise after sending an ill-judged tweet last month when he was left in the stands at Inverness.

But the manager insists his striker can still play his way back into his plans if he can rediscover his form elsewhere.

"We think he will go on loan," Deila said ahead of Friday night's trip to Ladbrokes Premiership basement boys Dundee United.

"He has some options but together with Stokesy we haven't decided what is the right one yet.

"A lot of clubs have been in contact who want to have Stokesy on their team.

"We will see what Anthony wants and what is best for the club. He is happy to go out on loan. He wants to get some games under his belt.

"It's important for everybody he finds himself, gets some good performances and can then perform for Celtic again.

"Does he still have a Celtic future? Yeah, everybody has that.

"He has a contract with the club and Stokesy knows the things he has to take care of.

"Hopefully he will get a good run of games, score some goals and get back in good confidence and the best shape he can be in."

But the Norwegian shot down reports linking playmaker Tom Rogic with a move to Leeds , insisting he wants to tie the Australian down to a long-term deal.

"I haven't heard so much about that," Deila said. "But what I do know is that we want to re-sign Tom and have him here for the future.

"He's made a lot of progress and we see a lot of potential in him.

"He can do much better because he has only played for six months after being out for a year before that.

"He needs time so he's going to stay here with Celtic."

Celtic have yet to act since the January transfer window opened, but Deila has been encouraged by the Hoops' manoeuvrings so far and says things "seem positive".

However, the Parkhead boss refused to speculate on reports linking him with a loan move for Manchester City forward Bersant Celina.

Deila, who knows the Kosovan teenager from a stint with his former club Stromsgodset, said: "I know that name comes up because I have been at the same club as him before but I won't comment."

Celtic could have a familiar face back in their ranks next month after Deila confirmed skipper Scott Brown is back running.

The midfielder was ruled out for three months at the end of November with a knee injury, but the manager hopes to see him return a couple of weeks early.

"He is smiling and we are smiling now he is back out running," he said.

"He is like an 18-year-old boy when he runs and hopefully he can progress a little bit quicker. We're hoping mid-February."

The Glasgow giants announced on Monday they had banned three supporters indefinitely after Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup win over Stranraer was marred by the away support letting off smoke bombs and flash bangs at Stair Park.

Police say they are now investigating the matter, as well as reports of sectarian chants, and Deila backed the swift action taken by the club as he again pleaded with fans to behave.

"It's important we get away from the things that are hurting out reputation," he said.

"You know, 98 per cent of the Celtic fans are fantastic, but when you have so many fans there's always going to be something (that lets you down).

"But it's important we do everything we can to make people safe at matches.

"This isn't only a problem for Celtic, though. There are a lot of clubs in the world with the same problem.

"It's nothing new but we have to take it seriously and we will do."

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