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Celtic striker Anthony Stokes targets a place in the Champions League group stages

Updated: Monday, 27 May 2013 07:45 | Comments

Anthony Stokes wants to help lead Celtic into the group stages of the Champions League
Anthony Stokes wants to help lead Celtic into the group stages of the Champions League

Anthony Stokes picked up his William Hill Scottish Cup final winners' medal after the 3-0 win over Hibernian at Hampden Park yesterday - and then turned his attention to the Champions League next season.

The Irishman twice set up striker Gary Hooper for first-half goals before midfielder Joe Ledley sealed the domestic double with a strike after the break.

The Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions will enter the second round of qualifying in mid-July and Stokes wants to be involved.

He played in the qualifier against HJK Helsinki at Celtic Park last August, but an ankle injury kept him out until January and led to him missing Celtic's journey to the last-16 of the tournament where they were beaten by Italian giants Juventus.

He said: "I would love to be involved. I was a bit unlucky with the injury this season.

"We obviously want to have a good run every year and we will see what happens in the qualifiers.

"We need to try to keep our best players, obviously, and try to improve and add to our squad.

"We have three and a half weeks off, I am sure we will rest up and try to come back as refreshed as possible.

"I came back from six or seven months out and have come back stronger and fitter and reaping the rewards.

"My aim is to get into the team week in, week out, that's all you can do, work hard in training and take your opportunity in games."

With those European ambitions in mind, there was no surprise that Stokes claimed to be "100 per cent" confident that he would extend his current deal which ends this summer.

He said: "I expect to be here, 100 per cent.

"The contract is getting sorted out and I am very confident about it.

"My agent has been speaking with the club for the last week or two so I am sure something will get sorted."

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