Anthony Stokes admits he's losing weight to get into Deila's team

The Celtic forward has been discussing the competition for places at Parkhead.

Celtic forward Anthony Stokes admits he is trying to lose weight as he bids to improve his fitness and hold down a place in Ronny Deila's side, according to the club's official website.

Stokes has made plenty of appearances for Celtic this term but is far from the first name on Deila's team sheet and, what's more, the 26-year-old has received plenty of criticism for his recent displays for the Hoops.

Celtic supporters were unhappy with his performance at Dundee United in the Scottish Cup last weekend, while former Bhoys star Frank McAvennie was heavily critical of Stokes and James Forrest.

Stokes, though, remains determined to fight off the competition for places at Celtic and remains unfazed by any recent poor showings.

At Deila's instruction, he is attempting to lose weight, improve his fitness and work harder defensively in order to make his mark.

“I speak to the gaffer on a regular basis,” said the Irishman. “He wants me to improve different aspects of my game – defensively, my fitness and the shape I’m in, dropping some more weight.

“I have been trying to do all these things and every day in training I have been pushing myself more than ever as I know the competition is there.

“The last couple of games there have been one or two chances I haven’t taken. I have played the 60 minutes in the last two games and I feel quite comfortable but I need to do my talking on the pitch."

Celtic's 1-1 draw at United was not the last they'll be seeing of the Tannadice outfit this week, with the Bhoys set to contest the Scottish League Cup final with Jackie McNamara's men this Sunday afternoon.

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