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Stokes on course to be back for Old Firm

ANTHONY Stokes will be fit for the crucial Old Firm clash at Parkhead on Wednesday week.

The striker missed yesterday's 2-0 win away to St Johnstone and is likely to sit out Saturday's match at home to Kilmarnock in order to rest a calf strain picked up against Udinese.

Despite missing Stokes, Celtic racked up their seventh consecutive win in the SPL to keep Rangers' advantage at the top of the table to a manageable four points ahead of the Glasgow showdown.

Gary Hooper scored his 15th goal of the season to ease the tension on the hour mark, and Ki Sung Yeung doubled the advantage four minutes later to complete the away win.

The points weren't without cost, however, as Daniel Majstorovic fractured his cheekbone in the first half, giving Thomas Rogne an unexpected return to action.

Majstorovic is likely to be out of action until the end of next month at the earliest, which means boss Neil Lennon must find yet another central defensive partnership.

Glenn Loovens has been troubled by hamstring injuries all season and hardly covered himself in glory alongside Kelvin Wilson when Rangers stormed to a 4-2 win over Celtic at Ibrox in September.

Lennon will use the free midweek to assess his options in defence, confident that his side have found form after a rocky period earlier in the season that saw them lose to St Johnstone, Rangers and Hearts while coming back from the dead to draw 3-3 at Kilmarnock.

"I could go through the whole team and there's not one failure," the Hoops boss admitted. "We've now got seven wins in a row, which breeds a lot of confidence, but the belief is there as well.

"They've found the form of last season earlier than they did last year.

"To play as well and create the chances we did, it's very pleasing."

Midfielder Ki scored his first goal in two months and echoed Lennon's confidence in looking forward to the visit from Rangers.

"It is our home game and we have to win. Whether it's 1-0 or 2-1, getting the three points is our target."