Stokes wants to keep up momentum
Anthony Stokes insists there will be no let-up at Celtic even though it seems just a matter of when and not if they win the SPL. The Hoops striker, 24, scored twice in the 6-2 win over Dundee United at Parkhead which took the champions 18 points clear of Motherwell. Midfielder Kris Commons also scored a double, one from the spot, and there were goals for defender Efe Ambrose and midfielder Joe Ledley. At 2-1 in the first half goalkeeper Fraser Forster saved a Jon Daly penalty although the visitors opened the scoring through Stuart Armstrong and finished it through Johnny Russell. While Celtic's European campaign is all but over following the 3-0 defeat by Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 clash at Parkhead on Tuesday night, the Hoops' title victory is similarly inevitable following their sixth successive SPL win. However Stokes, back in the frame after an ankle injury decimated the first part of the campaign, knows Celtic will not be allowed to canter in the final stages. "We demand it from ourselves to perform in each game and fans want to see us winning every game," said the former Hibernian player. "That's the mentality we go out with every week so we won't be taking our foot off the pedal until the end of the season. "It's always nice to wrap it up as early as possible but even if we do we are going to be expected to win every game anyway so, whether we sew it up early or not, I don't think it is going to change the mentality of how we go into the games." Stokes grabbed his second and third goals of the season and, with manager Neil Lennon hinting at extending his contract which is up in the summer, the Republic of Ireland international is looking to make up for lost time between now and the final game. "Every player wants as much game time as possible and I'm no different," he said. "But I know I will have to perform in training and when I get my opportunity on the pitch. "The manager wants me to go out and perform as well as I can but the way I look at it, is that I'm judged on goals and that's what I look back at the end of the season. "If you are hitting over 20 goals you are having a reasonably good season but it's hard now, coming back from injury and missing so many games but I just want to score as many as I can before the end of the season." After wins in his opening two matches as Dundee United boss against Rangers and Hearts, Jackie McNamara was given a reality check at the place where he played the majority of his career. "I learned quite a lot but I knew before I came in that there were certain things that we need to work on and change," said the former Celtic defender. "I spoke to the players before the game about being brave on the ball, brave without it and making sure they took responsibility. "I don't think Celtic were carving us open but I told them that they have to have better communication."
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