Anthony Stokes has confirmed he wanted Celtic to win the Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final derby, even though it meant he would have been unavailable to play against his parent club.
As it turned out, Rangers were victorious – and now on loan Hibs striker Stokes, whose cross was turned into his own net by Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham in Wednesday night’s 3-2 win against the champions, can feature in the Scottish Cup final on 21 May.
“I was supporting Celtic on Sunday,” he said. “I’m a Celtic fan and that’s just the way it is. I have no control about not being able to play in the game whatsoever.
“Now I am able to play in the final and I’m absolutely delighted but I always want Celtic to do well as I am always going to be a Celtic fan. But Celtic is none of my business at the moment, I am talking purely as a Celtic fan’s point of view, as a professional I’m only focused on Hibs.”
However, Stokes was interested in the news which emanated from Parkhead on Wednesday concerning the future of manager Ronny Deila. It has been announced he is to leave at the end of the season.
The Norwegian had issues with Stokes, who he allowed to move on loan to Hibs in January. Stokes fell foul of Deila in November following a Twitter outburst after he was left out of the squad for a trip to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but was still required to travel to the game.
Stokes has already stressed he wants to return to Celtic at the end of the season and continue his career at the club, where he another year of his contract to run.
“It was a surprise and it wasn’t,” he said of the news of Deila’s imminent departure. “For the club to come out and say he’s going to finish at the end of the season is a surprise as it’s normally a case of lose the derby and you lose your job.
“Listen, I’m not going to be joyful about anyone losing their job. I want Celtic to do well as they possibly can and that is other people’s decision.
“Of course this decision could change things for me but things in football can change overnight.
“My mindset has always been on coming here and get myself as fit as possible and try to get games and help Hibs in any way I can.
“I had no intentions other than coming here and then going back to Celtic in the summer. That’s always the way I thought it would be.”