Anthony StokesGoogle Images

Ireland striker Anthony Stokes can’t wait for the Old Firm derby at Parkhead on Sunday as Celtic look to turn the screw on Rangers.

The latest SPL game comes just a fortnight after Celtic conjured up a 2-2 Scottish Cup draw at Ibrox.
Neil Lennon’s side are five points clear of the reigning champions in the title race but the Gers have two games in hand which makes this fixture a vital one for both sides.

Stokes admitted: “In all these big games, form goes out of the window.

“It will be a very tough game, but we have gone to Ibrox and played very well against them, so if we can do that at home with the crowd behind us, I think we should be confident of getting a good result.”

Having played in Edinburgh and Tyne-Wear derbies with Hibs and Sunderland respectively, Stokes knows all about derby day football.

Glasgow’s Old Firm version is, he says, the best of all. 

“It’s just the atmosphere and the rivalry between the two clubs,” added Stokes.

“I think it’s a completely different game - the pace is more frantic and the tackles are harder.

“It’s probably the atmosphere that changes everything about it.

“I think the first 10-15 minutes are always hectic. It can be a bit scrappy at times, there are always tackles flying in.

“I think you just need to try and settle into the game and then after 15-20 minutes, when everyone gets a second breath, it tends to settle down a bit. For 90 minutes, they are normally hectic anyway.”

Celtic will be without South Korean defender Cha Du Ri who has been ruled out for a month with an ankle injury in training.