Deila impressed by Anthony Stokes and reveals how he encouraged him early doors

The Celtic boss has spoken in-depth about the 26-year-old forward.

Celtic head coach Ronny Deila has sung Anthony Stokes's praises and revealed how he encouraged the Irishman earlier this season, according to the Scotsman.

Deila has not had it easy with Stokes at times this campaign, with the Celtic forward needing to be disciplined by the club after returning late from a trip to Ireland.

And the 26-year-old's form has also seen him bear the brunt of heavy criticism - Celtic supporters have often slammed him for poor performances.

But Deila believes Stokes delivered his best display under the 39-year-old during the Scottish League Cup final against Dundee United, something he feels is proof the Bhoys forward is only moving in the right direction.

“You saw in the League Cup final the best game I have seen from him so far since I’ve been at Celtic. In front of the players I said: ‘This is what you get when you are 100 per cent, when you work outside the pitch and on the pitch,'" the Norwegian told reporters. 

Deila, meanwhile, also recalled an episode earlier this term when Stokes was at fault during a Celtic match - having lost the ball in the build-up to an opposition goal.

The Bhoys boss, though, believes in management by encouragement, as opposed to management through punishment, and was full of support for the 26-year-old after his error.

He said: “I remember Stokesy made a mistake in one of the first games, he lost the ball in midfield, the opponent counter attacked and we lost a goal.

"I took him after the game in front of the others and I said: ‘It was fantastic what you did. You worked hard and made penetrating runs.’ He looked at me as if: ‘What are you saying?’"

Celtic host Dundee United at 3pm British Time on Saturday afternoon - the fourth consecutive game in all competitions they will have faced Jackie McNamara's men.

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