Winning streak has Stokes bhoyed up for Atletico tie

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Striker Anthony Stokes hopes Celtic’s domestic form can continue in the Europa League clash with Atletico Madrid tomorrow night.

Celtic have won four straight Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches since their last European clash – the win over Rennes earlier this month – to revive their title ambitions.

The Bhoys have cut Rangers’ lead at the top of the SPL from 12 to four points and Stokes hopes the winning habit can continue against the Spaniards at Parkhead, where victory would enhance Celtic’s hopes of advancing from Group I.

Stokes, who has netted 11 times this season, said: “It’s going to be a very tough game against a top-class side, but it’s a game we’re looking forward to.

“It’s the best team we’ll have played in a long, long time – it will be interesting to see what happens.

“We want to win every game. The more competitions you’re in, the more games you’re winning, the more confidence and belief there is in the team.

“It gives you that momentum. We want to win every game possible.”

And Stokes believes Celtic have got their stuttering start to the campaign out of their system. The 23-year-old added: “Early on in the season we had a bad spell. I think we’ve come out of that now and we’ve shown what we can really do.

“I think we’ve improved a little bit, we’ve tightened up at the back – we’re not conceding as many goals lately it doesn’t seem and it’s paying dividends.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re trying to bring that consistency into our game.

“In the last four or five games we’ve done that, so we just want to try and kick on.”

Stokes’ strike battle with team-mate Gary Hooper has helped Celtic’s cause.

Hooper netted a hat-trick in last Saturday’s 5-0 defeat of St Mirren to move one ahead of Stokes in the scoring charts with 12.

The Irishman added: “We have a bit of banter about it but it’s not serious at all.

“We both want to score goals and I’m sure the two of us want to be top goalscorer.”