Stokes salutes 'massive' win
Celtic striker looking forward to Rangers clash
Last Updated: October 18, 2010 3:57pm
Stokes: Relishing Rangers clash
Anthony Stokes has admitted that it was vital for Celtic to beat Dundee United on Sunday to go into their clash with Rangers on a level footing.
Both Old Firm clubs have collected a maximum 24 points from eight games to set up a mouth-watering encounter at Celtic Park this weekend.
The Bhoys came within minutes of losing their perfect record at Tannadice but eventually secured a 2-1 victory thanks to Gary Hooper's late strike.
Stokes was delighted to come through such a tricky test and respond to Rangers' win over Motherwell a day earlier.
"The last thing we wanted was to drop points ahead of the game against Rangers," he told the Evening Times.
"So, from that point of view, it was a massive, massive result.
"It maybe looked as though that was going to be the case with the game at 1-1, and only a minute of normal time remaining, but we never gave up.
"When you play as well as we did, and you create as many chances, you've got to win.
"The manager said that it was as well as we have played and I have to agree with him. Some of our football was fantastic.
"It would have been a huge blow had we not won the match."
There was a controversial incident in the match against Dundee United when referee Dougie McDonald reversed his decision to award Celtic a penalty.
McDonald pointed to the spot after Hooper went down under a challenge by Dusan Pernis, only to change his mind after consulting assistant referee Steven Craven and give a drop-ball in the box.
Celtic managed to pick up three points but Neil Lennon was unhappy with the decision and Stokes admits that it also left him baffled.
The Irishman said: "If you point to the spot then you can't change your mind, surely?
"I was there, as were other players of ours, and we could have tapped the ball into the net instead of it then becoming a drop-ball.
"I thought we responded well and didn't allow it to disrupt our performance."