By Craig Turnbull
Ronny Deila insists Anthony Stokes still has a future at Celtic despite being sent on loan to Championship side Hibernian.
Stokes completed the loan switch to Hibs this week hoping to salvage his season. The 27-year-old has barely featured for the Hoops and was suspended in December following a Twitter rant over his lack of game time.
Stokes, who is out of contract in the summer, later apologised and Deila is hopeful the striker comes back rejuvenated from his loan spell and is able to fight for a place in the first team.
“I hope he scores a lot of goals, does well for Hibs, gets good confidence and comes back in good shape,” Deila said.
Deila brushed off suggestions that his goals could win Hibs the title at the expense of rivals Rangers.
“Of course if he does well he can make Hibs better,” he said. “That’s what Hibs will be hoping for as well. The best team will go up and we’ll see who is the best team.
“Anthony wanted to go there and that is very important he has the motivation to go and play.
“He feels he has good communication with the manager and he’s going to be important in the team that’s a good start.
“His goal is to come back and be an important player for Celtic.
“There’s always a way back into the team. It’s about sacrifice and doing the changes you have to do and that is about every player.
“If you don’t change someone will take your place you’ve got to want to get better and sacrifice everything or your time is up.
“But with Stokesy everybody knows his potential. I’m happy for him and I hope he gets back in the best shape he can be.”
Ronny Deila also confirmed the club are looking at Croatian U20 midfielder Ljuban Crepulja who has been given a week’s trial in Glasgow, and he also insisted Aston Villa target Stefan Johansen is going nowhere.
He added: “We want to keep every player. No one had heard of any interest. Stefan Johansen is staying here so we want to keep him of course.”