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Celtic boss Ronny Deila: 'Anthony Stokes is going nowhere'

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Celtic's Anthony Stokes (right). Picture credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Celtic's Anthony Stokes (right). Picture credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Ronny Deila

Ronny Deila

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Celtic's Anthony Stokes (right). Picture credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Celtic boss Ronny Deila was informed before he left Glasgow for his side's final Europa League Group D clash in Croatia that forward Anthony Stokes has been linked with Cardiff City.

However, the Norwegian, speaking Speaking at Dinamo's ground before Celtic trained, "expects" the Dubliner to remain at Parkhead.

He said: "I heard it this morning. It is speculation again. I want everyone to stay. We have a good squad and Anthony has played well in the last weeks.

"I think he enjoys playing here. I expect him to stay."

Deila claims his Celtic side are on an honour mission against Dinamo Zagreb at the Stadion Maximir. The Scottish champions are already through to the last 32 of the competition as runners-up to section winners Salzburg. Skipper Scott Brown did not travel with the squad as he is on a yellow card while winger James Forrest was also left behind to work on his fitness.

However, the Hoops boss insists he is not taking tonight's game lightly and claims he cannot relax and enjoy what is, for the Parkhead club, a relatively pressure-free fixture.

Deila said: "I can't enjoy it because it is a new game and you want to win because you fight for honour in every game. It would be different if there was more pressure on us, it would be even harder if we had to win.

"But we want to have a good performance. I hate playing bad football games.

"So we have prepared as usual for this game and it is a good game for us to show how good we have been.

"It is also an important match because if we get three points we have a better chance of being seeded next season in the Champions League, hopefully, and we also have an opportunity to develop ourselves."

The draw for the next two rounds of the tournament will be made next week. Deila is mindful of the struggle to beat Dinamo 1-0 at Parkhead in October and admits Celtic have to improve regardless of whom they face when the competition resumes in February.

"It is going to be exciting but for me the most important thing is to win and get through," said the former Stromsgodset boss. "We have to be at a higher level in February because we are going to meet a very good opponent no matter who we draw.

"We are not at that level now but we have two months to prepare for that. And we are closer now than we were two months ago. We have to use every game to learn."

Deila is also hoping the draw will allow him to enjoy the sights and sounds of a full Celtic Park, something he has been unable to do since he took over from Neil Lennon in the summer.

"We want 60,000 at Celtic Park, that is our ambition," he said.


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