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Stokes relishes new competition at Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Dundee United 0 Celtic 1: Anthony Stokes has welcomed the competition new Celtic signing Teemu Pukki will bring to the Parkhead strike force.

The Dublin forward scored his 50th goal for the Hoops with a late free-kick against Dundee United at Tannadice on Saturday to give the champions three Scottish Premiership points.

Neil Lennon claimed the goal would go a long way to securing a new deal for the former Sunderland and Hibernian striker who is in the last season of his current contract.

Earlier in the day Pukki confirmed his move from Schalke and the Finnish striker's arrival came 24 hours after 21-year-old Israel international midfielder Nir Biton was signed from FC Ashdod.

Lennon failed with late bids to sign Peterborough striker Lee Tomlin and bring Manchester United left-back Alex Buttner on loan while striker Tony Watt moved to Belgium side Lierse on a season-long loan.

Stokes (25) has become used to fighting for a place in the Parkhead first team since signing from Hibernian in 2010 and takes the threat from new recruits in his stride.

He said: "I haven't really seen much of the new signings to be honest but the scouting system here has been very successful over the last few years so I am no doubt they will add a lot of competition and quality to the squad.

"There are always players coming in and competition is good for everyone, it keeps everyone on their toes and I'm no different.

Talking about the possibility of a new contract at the club, Stokes said: "My agent has been in touch with Celtic and we are waiting on them coming back. I am sure it will sort itself out.

"I love the club, they are a great bunch of lads and there is nothing not to love.

"Of course, I was delighted with 50 goals but the result was the most important thing."

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