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Stokes: Goal not enough to cement place

Anthony Stokes is not banking on his first goal for Celtic guaranteeing him anything from manager Neil Lennon. The former Hibernian striker was dropped to the bench for the trip to Kilmarnock yesterday but, with Celtic trailing to an early Conor Sammon goal, he came off the bench in the 21st minute when the luckless Paddy McCourt injured his shoulder.

Just before the break Stokes was brought down by defender Frazer Wright inside the box, which allowed fellow Irishman Daryl Murphy to equalise from the spot.

And in the 51st minute Stokes converted a cross from Emilio Izaguirre from close range for the winner, which keeps the Parkhead men only behind SPL leaders Rangers on goals scored.

Asked if his goal should see him back in the starting XI, Stokes said: "Definitely not.



Competition

"I think I still need to do it every day in training because there is a lot of competition for places, but it won't do myself any harm scoring.

"It can be hard for the first five or 10 minutes to get into the game when you come on as a substitute but it was fine. I got some early touches and that helped me settle."

Stokes is already well aware of the differences between playing for Hibs and playing for Celtic.

"With Celtic the onus is really on you," he said. "The draw isn't good enough. In some games at Hibs you would take a draw but here it's not like that -- it's make or break. You win and nothing else is acceptable."

"Last week at Parkhead on my debut I was probably a little too excited to get out and impress. Today I felt more relaxed and tried to play my usual game and was delighted to get an important goal.

"Playing alongside Daryl (Murphy) helps, we know each other well from being together at Sunderland, he's a big lad and good with the ball at his feet and can move either way," he added

Kilmarnock's Dublin goalscorer Sammon said: "With my Irish roots I will probably get a bit of stick for scoring against Celtic but it's just a pity we didn't hold on and it wasn't a winning goal."


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