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Lennon backs Stokes to fire

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Celtic's Anthony Stokes. Picture credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Celtic's Anthony Stokes. Picture credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Celtic's Anthony Stokes. Picture credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

ANTHONY STOKES has been given the backing of Neil Lennon ahead of tomorrow's Scottish Cup tie at home to Aberdeen.

Some fans have been critical of the striker since he signed a new contract earlier in the season, with just three goals to show for his efforts since the start of October.

The arrival of Leigh Griffiths from Wolves adds extra pressure to the competition for striking places with Teemu Pukki and Amido Balde also available to Lennon.

Griffiths is likely to start tomorrow's match on the bench with Stokes retaining the faith of his boss regardless of his lean time around goal.

"Despite not scoring Stokesy is playing very well," Lennon said.

"I looked at his performances against Motherwell and St Mirren and he was excellent.

"I've been delighted with his game alongside Kris Commons who is in a great run of form."

Tomorrow's clash with Aberdeen should provide Celtic with their toughest domestic test of the season.

With a 21-point advantage in the SPFL thanks to a season long unbeaten run, the league flag is virtually wrapped up but defeat tomorrow could see Celtic's season virtually come to a halt.

Aberdeen come to Celtic Park with a return trip booked for next month's League Cup final against Inverness Caley Thistle, with Lennon well aware of the threat that Derek McInnes' side pose to Celtic's hopes of retaining the Scottish Cup.

"Aberdeen are one of the most consistent teams in the league and the fillip of getting to a cup final will have given their players a boost," Lennon added.

"They are second in the table so you have the two best teams in Scotland playing each other so it has all the ingredients for a cracking cup tie."


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