Celtic can still win title, says Stokes
Celtic are “well capable” of overhauling Rangers' lead at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, according to Hoops striker Anthony Stokes.
The champions are 10 points clear of the Parkhead club, who are also one point behind second-placed Motherwell, albeit Neil Lennon's men have a game in hand — against Dunfermline — over both of them.
Stokes scored in Celtic's impressive Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final win over Hibernian at Easter Road on Wednesday night and the second-half performance, where the visitors came back from a goal down to win 4-1, gave him further reason to believe that the title race is far from over.
“It's going to be tough, no doubt but I think we are well capable of doing it,” he said.
“There is so long left in the season and we have a lot of Old Firm games before the end of the season so we can definitely get the points back.
“In my head I am looking at it as a seven-point gap.
“But we can't look too far ahead. It's 10 points now and we have to focus on going on a good run of form and winning every game because we can't really afford to drop too many points.
“But I think the second-half last night was the best we have played this season.
“It has been slowly coming in the last few weeks, we are all feeling that we are getting back to our best and I think we showed that last night.
“We didn't defend as well as we could in the first-half but in the second half we were outstanding and dominated the game.
“The difference was that the passing was slicker and we were more clinical.
“But we have to be more consistent with our performances.”
And Stokes admits he would love a recall to the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of their Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia next month.
Coach Giovanni Trappatoni is likely to be without West Brom striker Shane Long through injury and there are doubts over Robbie Keane while Kevin Doyle is suspended for the first leg.
Stokes upset Trappatoni in May when he withdrew from the squad for the Carling Nations Cup matches against Northern Ireland and Scotland and the friendly against Italy, although the player later denied saying it was because he was too tired.
“Honestly, I would love to be back in the international set-up, but there is nothing I can do if I don't get in there,” he said.
“I am playing reasonably well at the moment and I am happy with my performances.
“I still want to improve but if I get the call it would be great.
“If not I will just focus on my club football.”