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Celtic's focus is on unbeaten record


Never lose: Anthony Stokes feels record is important

Never lose: Anthony Stokes feels record is important

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Never lose: Anthony Stokes feels record is important

Anthony Stokes has described the importance of Celtic's 17-game unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership as "massive" as the champions prepare for the trip to Inverness tomorrow.

Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk's wonderful solo goal against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Thursday proved enough to leave the Hoops 11 points clear of second placed Motherwell and firmly on course to retain the title.

Manager Neil Lennon has been keen to dampen down the possibility of going the whole league season unbeaten.

However Stokes (25), became the latest Hoops player to talk up the run which has become the focus of attention since the Parkhead side's European hopes ended when they finished bottom of their Champions League group.

The Republic of Ireland striker said: "It is massive. It is something we pride ourselves in.

"We have had a great start to the season, the consistency has been tremendous and we want to maintain that.

"We are taking it game by game and we just want to keep it up, winning games is what it is all about. It is demanded at this club and we will keep striving towards that.

"Obviously this year has been a bit disappointing, with Europe, but we want to finish this season on a high and win trophies.

"At the end of the day, that is what it's all about."

Stokes is no stranger to new Caley boss John Hughes, who recently took over at the Highland club after Terry Butcher departed to take the reins at Hibernian.

The Dubliner made his name as a teenager at Falkirk after being brought to the club from Arsenal on loan by then manager Hughes, who subsequently signed him for Hibs from Sunderland.

Stokes is confident Hughes will continue Butcher's good work.

"Knowing him as well as I do, I am sure he will get a reaction," he said. "From the bits and pieces I have seen since taking over he has definitely got that.

"Inverness is always a tough place to go, a nice compact ground but quite a while to travel to.

"And the Inverness boys will be perked up with a new gaffer and it is going to be a very difficult game. I am sure they will be ready but so will we."

Belfast Telegraph