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Unread 29-10-2010, 12:40 AM
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Default Stokes refuses to be swayed by vandals

Celtic striker's house targeted after defeat to Rangers
'If you are playing for the Old Firm you have to expect that'

Celtic's striker Anthony Stokes has promised not to bow to intimidation even though his house was attacked in the aftermath of Sunday's Old Firm game.

Members of Stokes's family were inside his West Lothian home as objects, including bins, were thrown at it. Stokes had earlier been part of the Celtic side who lost 3-1 to Rangers, with the Irishman's wild tackle on Sasa Papac one of several contentious moments.

"I don't know what I'm going to do but I'm not going to be intimidated by people coming up to my house," Stokes said, rejecting any suggestion that he would relocate. "It's just one of those things you have to forget about."

The former Sunderland striker even claimed players at Celtic and Rangers are aware such incidents are likely to occur away from the field of play. "To be fair, if you are playing for either of the Old Firm you kind of have to expect that," Stokes added. "It's just part and parcel of it.

"It's forgotten about. I don't think any footballer should have to expect that but these things happen sometimes and you just have to move on. There's nothing you can do about it. Listen, if people have a few drinks they tend to do stupid things. I'm sure in a lot of those incidents lads have looked back and regretted what happened. But before I came here I knew plenty of stories about things going on.

"You just have to forget about it and I'm just concentrating on my football. That's the most important thing for me."

Stokes showed no ill-effects last night, as his two goals helped Celtic past St Johnstone in the quarter-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup. The Parkhead side also owed a debt of gratitude to their goalkeeper Fraser Forster, whose superb save in stoppage time secured a 3-2 win at McDiarmid Park.

"He has bailed us out once or twice since the start of the season," Stokes said of the Newcastle United loanee. "That's what you want from your goalkeeper. He is young but he's settled in really well and made some big saves for us in his first few games. That one on Wednesday was as good a save as I've seen. He's maybe had a tenth of a second or something to get his hand to it, but thankfully he got there."
Ewan Murray

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