By Alex Stevens

Anthony Stokes is keen to return to Celtic next season and prove his career at the club is not over.

The striker has been spent the second half of the campaign on loan at second tier outfit Hibernian to prompt speculation his Parkhead days are numbered.

But Stokes is convinced he still has much to offer the club he first joined in 2010 and for whom he has scored 76 goals in 192 matches.

The 27-year-old was surplus to requirements under outbound manager Ronny Deila but the arrival of a new man in the dugout will give him the chance to make a good impression.

Roy Keane is the current bookmakers’ favourite to replace Deila, with chief executive Peter Lawwell revealing that the new manager will be appointed by the end of the month.
Stokes has one year remaining on his Celtic contract but knows his future at the club depends on whether he finds favour with Deila’s successor.
“It gives me a clean slate for when I go back, but it comes down to the next manager that comes in,” Stokes said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “Celtic haven’t taken up my year option yet so if I do go back it’s down to me to prove myself.

“At Sunderland, Roy Keane signed me when I was there. I’ve worked with him a lot.

“He’s been a bit more in the background with Ireland. He’s someone I’ve always had a lot of respect for and I have always got on well with him.

“One of his best features when he was a manager was that you always knew where you stood with him.

“It wasn’t the case that he would keep anyone on board; he told you how it was. For a young player coming into the game, I enjoyed working with him.”

Stokes has scored eight goals in 25 appearances this season, including six in 14 Championship matches for Hibs.

Some bookmakers this week suspended betting on former Manchester United and Ireland captain Keane, who would certainly help sell season tickets even if many supporters have reservations about their club appointing someone with such a chequered managerial career.

In other Celtic news, the Scottish club have watched a £10million-rated English centre-back eight times as they eye up a summer bid.