Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish

Celtic 4 Motherwell 0

Anthony Stokes is keen for Celtic to take advantage of their Europa League reprieve starting against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Thursday night.



The Hoops lost 3-1 on aggregate to Sion in the play-offs but were reinstated by Uefa, who ruled the Swiss club were guilty of fielding five ineligible players over the two legs.

Celtic took Sion's place in a group which also includes Udinese and Rennes and, although the Swiss club's appeal will be heard by Uefa tomorrow, Stokes and the rest of Neil Lennon's squad are preparing for the trip to Spain.

They warmed up with a 4-0 hammering of Motherwell in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Celtic Park on Saturday to remain one point behind SPL leaders Rangers, whom they meet in the first Old Firm derby of the season at Ibrox next Sunday.

Stokes hopes first of all, though, that Celtic will make amends in Madrid for their dismal performances against Sion.

“It is going to be a very difficult game,” said the Celtic striker.

“We didn't do ourselves justice in the games against Sion so we just want to take our chance now that we have an opportunity to get back in there.

“The Europa League games are massive games and will be tough but, on our day, we can compete with anyone.”

The Irishman is unconcerned about the possibility of Sion winning their appeal.

“We are trying not to focus on that to be honest,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned, we are back in the competition and are focusing on the game and if anything comes about at the appeal on Tuesday, we will deal with it then.”

James Forrest was the star man against Motherwell, grabbing a brace in an impressive performance with further goals from fellow midfielders Joe Ledley and Ki Sung-yueng.

However, Lennon, who will spend this week worrying about the fitness of skipper Scott Brown who missed the game with an ongoing ankle problem, knows it will not be so easy in Madrid.

The Celtic manager said: “In terms of the work rate, commitment and the pace they played at against Motherwell, they will need to match that at least.

“But we might have set up the team differently.”

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph