Stokes: It's simple Commons sense to sign Scottish Leigh for Celtic

ANTHONY STOKES has welcomed the signing of new Bhoy Leigh Griffiths as a "no-brainer".

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Anthony Stokes, centre, has hailed the signing of Griffiths
Anthony Stokes, centre, has hailed the signing of Griffiths

The Parkhead poacher reckons by going British, Hoops' boss Neil Lennon has minimised the element of risk that is taken when a continental selection is made in the striking department, with the exit of Sierra Leone striking flop Mo Bangura in the other direction emphasising that point.

Stokes says he has seen more than enough of the controversial Griffiths to convince him that he will flourish in Paradise.

And the Republic of Ireland international has no doubt that Griffiths' arrival - and the increase in competition it will bring at the top of the Parkhead pecking order - will stand his side in good stead at home and abroad.

Stokes said: "It is a great signing for the club and after what we have seen of Leigh at Hibs I don't think there is any risk there, as he knows the Scottish game so well.

"As a striker you are paid to score goals and Leigh is a great finisher. But your bread and butter every year is the league and Leigh has scored for fun in the SPL in the past two seasons.

"To get someone of Leigh's level for the kind of money we have [£1million] and given he is also a Scot just makes this signing a no-brainer in my book."

Stokes added: "You look at the success some of our other British signings have had like Kris Commons and that just underlines that they find it a lot easier than the continental lads to make the adjustment in Scotland.

"There is a physicality and a pace to the game up here that some of the lads from abroad have taken time to find their feet with, but Leigh will settle in right away."

When it comes to the extra competition to nail down a striking start, Stokes says that will only bring out the best in him.

The 25-year-old said: "We have four or five options up top and it will be up to the gaffer to decide which cards he picks.

"But the more quality players you have vying for a certain position the better it is for the club. At a club of Celtic's stature you expect that.

"From a playing perspective you have to embrace it as the extra competition will only help you improve."

Griffiths has attracted off-field criticism for some indiscretions.

Stokes, no stranger to adverse off-field headlines himself, admitted that the increased scrutiny that comes with being a Bhoy is something that the Scotland international will need to learn to cope with.

Stokes said: "Obviously I was down south at a fairly big club in Sunderland, but it was nothing compared with the spotlight you are put under at Celtic.

"Celtic is just a massive club with a big reputation around Europe and you have to be aware of that.

"So what Leigh needs to do is get his head down and let his football do all the talking, and if he does that he will be fine."

Turning his attention to tomorrow's visit of St Mirren, Stokes, who is available again after suspension, is determined to extend Celtic's unbeaten domestic run to 24 games.

He said: "We are playing well and playing with a lot of confidence and we want to keep that going against St Mirren.

"Personally speaking, I feel like I have been playing well but not getting the goals and I will be a lot happier if I can get back in among them."

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