Anthony Stokes discusses competition with Celtic new-boys

Anthony Stokes has welcomed the arrival of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven.

The Irish forward is something of a veteran in the Celtic ranks now, having been at the club since 2010, but he told the Celtic View that he is pleased with the new arrivals.

Able to play up front, as well as in the attacking line behind the strikers, Stokes’ position in the first-team came under threat during the January transfer window, as the Bhoys signed former Dundee United men Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven.

The Scottish duo can also fill roles in the centre and outside positions, leaving Stokes to face added competition in Ronny Deila’s side. The new pair have started their Celtic careers in impressive form, scoring four goals between them in 13 games, while Stokes has missed more games since their arrivals than he did in the entire first half of the campaign.

Having been at the club for so long, Stokes has endured many transfer windows under the same situation, yet he has retained his key role for the Bhoys. While in the short-term it may limit his action, the forward told Celtic View that it can only be a good thing for the club - and his individual performances.

Quoted in the magazine, the 26-year-old said: “At the end of the day, it’s good for Celtic Football Club. Competition for places only makes everyone perform better and up their game.

“I have been in this position plenty of times before. There have been about 10-15 strikers come in since I have been at the club and when other players come in you have to up your performance, you have to look at yourself and try and improve and come back stronger and get yourself back into the squad.”

With 35 games under his belt already this term, Stokes will be hoping that he can retain his first-team place for the remainder of the season, as the Bhoys look to secure the Scottish Premiership title.

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