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Former Hibs man Stokes enjoys his stab at Hearts

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Anthony Stokes jumps for joy after scoring for Celtic against Dundee at Parkhead. Photo credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Anthony Stokes jumps for joy after scoring for Celtic against Dundee at Parkhead. Photo credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Anthony Stokes jumps for joy after scoring for Celtic against Dundee at Parkhead. Photo credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Anthony Stokes admitted that it gave him special delight to score against Hearts as Celtic dumped the Edinburgh side out of the Scottish Cup.

The striker scored the third goal in Celtic's 4-0 win and enjoyed his celebrations that bit more after spending a season with city rivals Hibs on route to Celtic Park.

A seventh minute red card for Hearts skipper Morgaro Gomis handed the initiative to Celtic with Stokes' low drive in the 53rd minute killing off any chance of a comeback from the Championship leaders.

"As an ex Hibs player it's always nice to score here," Stokes smiled. "I get plenty of abuse from their fans so it's nice to get my own back on them.

"The early red card changed the course of the game, after that we just had to be professional about it and I think that we were. We took our time to grind them down, after the first goal I think we were comfortable.

"When your opponents are down to ten men it leaves you with more space to work in. It was a case of getting the first goal, maybe later on in the game we took our foot off the gas but that tends to happen."

The win ensures that Celtic remain in four competitions going into the new year compared to this time last season when Neil Lennon's side had already exited from Europe and the League Cup.

Stokes has found himself converted from the front line into an attacking left midfielder and is happy with the way the side and his own game is developing under new boss Ronny Deila (inset).

"It's quite intense, the manager wants us to play high tempo for 90 minutes," he explained.

"It's taking us time to adapt, we're gradually getting there but obviously there is room for improvement.

"In the European game in midweek (the 3-1 defeat to Salzburg) we lost sloppy goals, if you do that you are going to lose games but today was better.

"The gaffer is relentless, he wants us to train hard and play intensive football for 90 minutes, we did well today and there's more to come from this side."


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