Dubliner Anthony Stokes was the extra time hero for Celtic as his header secured a dramatic 4-3 win over Dundee United in the Scottish Cup semifinal on Sunday.
Celtic will now play Pat Fenlon’s Hibs in the May final after they produced their own sensational comeback to beat Falkirk 4-3 after extra time in the semis, after trailing 3-0 at halftime.
Dubliner Stokes came off the bench to score the winner against his old club and remind manager Neil Lennon what he can do as he tries to win a new contact at the end of the season.
Lennon has insisted that Stokes can play his way to a new contract after hinting he wants to keep the Irish international.
But Stokes himself doesn’t think Sunday’s match winner will decide his future.
“I’m not worried about that. I don’t think one game is going to decide a contract offer. It might not do me any harm, but we’ll see what happens,” said Stokes.
“I was delighted to get the goal. That was the plan going on, I wanted to score in a tight game like that. I was pleased to get the goal and, more importantly, the result.”
With the league title all but sealed, Celtic are now eyeing the double ahead of their May 26th date with Hibs.
Stokes added, “It’s a cup final and everybody is up for it. It’s been a great season so far. You are judged on what you win at the end of the season.”
Lennon did hint that Stokes might get the contract he craves. “I think in my mind I have already made that call but I haven’t told Anthony yet,” Lennon said.
“What will help Stokesy is to get consistency in his performances. In some of the games since he came back from injury, he has been fantastic and in other games he has been below average.
“But he has a great work ethic and when he is in the mood he has goals in him as well. He scored the most important goal of the season up until now and that will have done his chances no harm at all.”
Celtic midfielders Victor Wanyama and Beram Kayal will miss the final after picking up bookings against Dundee United.
Celtic have criticized the failure to restructure Scottish football after an SPL vote against the change forced the SFA to abandon its plans to introduce a three division league next season.