JAMES FORREST believes the return to fitness of Anthony Stokes has been like a new signing for Celtic.

And the Hoops winger hopes it won't be long before the Parkhead strike star signs on the dotted line to commit his future to the club.

Stokes was one of Celtic's key men as they eased to a 5-0 victory over Dundee yesterday but couldn't get the goal his all-round performance merited.

He is out of contract at the end of the season and Forrest is keen to keep the Hoops' strong attacking arsenal in place.

He said: "Stokesy has been really good since he has come back from injury. It has been like a new player for the team.

"He is good to play with. I would like to see him here for the long-term.

"In the position I play, I like playing with Stokesy. I am sure a lot of the other boys like playing with him as well.

"We will see what happens with his contract. He and Gary Hooper are really good together so it would be good to keep him."

Forrest made the most of his own chance to impress at Parkhead yesterday as he bids to end a frustrating campaign on a high note. The winger netted from the spot to clinch the points early in the second half and is keen to retain his place in the side ahead of a midweek league meeting with Motherwell and trip to St Mirren in the Scottish Cup this weekend.

Forrest said: "We have got a lot of boys in the squad and everyone wants to play games so I am sure that will benefit us in the last few matches of the season.

"The manager is trying to do his best and get us all motivated. He wants to win every game and so do the boys.

"There are a lot of big games still to play and everyone wants to be in the starting eleven.

"We have got a big match against Motherwell on Wednesday and we want to win that to have a bit of confidence for the cup game against St Mirren.

"I feel good. I have done a lot of running with the sports scientist and I feel good. I just need to get more games.

"It has been really frustrating to come back and then get injured. It has been niggling injuries so hopefully I can have a bit of luck and stay fit until the end of the season.

"There has not been anything seriously wrong so that is a good thing. I am just looking forward to the rest of the season now."