Davie Hay: I'm sure a deal is on table for Stokes ... he's as good a goalscorer as Bhoys have got

I AM convinced Celtic will re-sign Anthony Stokes following his display against Dundee United at the weekend.

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Anthony Stokes proved his class with a double strike in victory over Dundee United
Anthony Stokes proved his class with a double strike in victory over Dundee United

I think a lot of people have jumped to the wrong conclusion this season while Stokes has been out of the team.

Yes, there were issues with his off-field activities that brought his future at the Parkhead club into some doubt. But, remember, the main reason he has not been involved in the first team was due to a serious injury.

Since he has regained full fitness he has looked like the Anthony Stokes of old – one of the club's top goalscorers.

He missed the St Johnstone game in midweek due to a family bereavement. But I think we will see the Republic of Ireland international feature during the title run-in and I am sure he will add to his tally with more goals.

There have been question marks over his future. But I think he has answered his critics with his showings for Neil Lennon's team in recent weeks.

Celtic have got plenty of other options up front but I think Stokes is as good a goalscorer as they have at their disposal. I have no doubt that a new contract will be forthcoming.

The fact that Gary Hooper looks almost certain to move on in the summer make it imperative that Stokes remains beyond this season.

As much as I admire him, I believe there are areas where he can improve. His general play, for instance, sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. But he has shown enormous determination to recover from his ankle injury and that suggests he can get better as a player in the seasons to come.

Hooper has now gone five games without scoring for Celtic but his barren run is no cause for concern. All strikers go through spells when the goals dry up. Nothing more should be read into his inability to hit the target in the last few weeks.

He has not suffered as a result of all the speculation linking him with moves to Barclays Premier League clubs in the January transfer window.

He has not been affected by the fact that Celtic turned down a substantial multi-million pound offer from English top flight club Norwich City last month.

If anything, the interest in the player brought out the best in him. His confidence increased and his performances were absolutely outstanding.

Indeed, he was a deserved recipient of the Clydesdale Bank Player of the Month for January award earlier this week. The focus on the Englishman has had a positive influence on his play.

Having said that, he could have done better with a couple of chances against St Johnstone in midweek. But their keeper saved well with his legs. If he looked disinterested, if he was failing to put himself in positions to score, that is the time to be worried.

Anyway, Gary doesn't need to keep scoring goals to win himself his desired move to England in the summer. He is going to get his move no matter what. He has shown prospective buyers down south what he is capable of, both domestically and in Europe, and the move is going to come regardless of what happens between now and May.

I am sure Norwich will come back in for him and I have no doubt there will be other interested parties as a result of his performances in Scotland and in the Champions League.

He will want to finish his career with Celtic on a high by helping them to win the Scottish title and possibly even the Scottish Cup as well. He has got that goalscorer's instinct and you can see when he finds the back of the net the pleasure that it gives him. Hooper will not be content to go through the motions.


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