Stokes prepared for final bench role

Aidan Fitzmaurice

ANTHONY STOKES accepts that he may have to put up with a bench role with Celtic for Sunday's League Cup final meeting with Kilmarnock.

The Dubliner was an unused sub for the Bhoys when they beat Rangers in the League Cup final 12 months ago while he also failed to make the starting XI for the Scottish Cup final, and he's ready for more of the same treatment next weekend.

"It's just part and parcel of playing at a club with a big squad," said Stokes. "We're all delighted to be in a cup final and on a personal level I'm hoping I'm going to be playing. But there's not much you can do if you're not in the side.

"It can be a bit frustrating but it's about the team. It's not about individuals. I think if you look at the size of our squad, everybody needs to understand that. Everyone does and we just get on with it. The main thing is we go there on Sunday and win.

"There are never any guarantees at this club. You do as well as you possibly can and hope you get the nod. That's all I can really do. I have to do as well as I possibly can, score goals and give the gaffer a headache with the decisions.

"It was obviously disappointing to miss out last year but there's not much you can do about it. If you are scoring goals and doing as well as you can, after that it's out of your hands.

"I have spoken to the gaffer once or twice about not being in the team but I have always accepted his decision. I am one of those players who wants to play every week and I don't think I'll ever change.

"To be honest, I think the gaffer would probably be disappointed if players didn't want to be in team," added the Dublin-born forward.