Stokes wary of Hampden atmosphere

Stokes wary of Hampden atmosphere

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes has warned the quiet Hampden atmosphere could sound the death knell for the Hoops’ double ambitions.

The Republic of Ireland striker and his Parkhead team-mates face Hibernian in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Sunday.

But the former Easter Road forward claims the National Stadium lacks the noise and passion of other Scottish grounds.

The 24-year-old now says Celtic will have to blank out the silence of the fans if they are to follow up their Clydesdale Bank Premier League triumph with their second trophy of the campaign.

He said: “It’s a different atmosphere at Hampden. Sometimes it can go dead with the fans, so we will just have to go out, play our own game and focus on that.

“Can it have an impact on the players? I think it can. When you are used to playing at home at Celtic Park, the fans are noisy for 90 minutes in every game. Going to other SPL grounds, you always get a good atmosphere.

“But at Hampden sometimes it does go quiet and we can’t let that (affect us).”

Hibs’ main danger will come from 28-goal striker Leigh Griffiths, but Stokes insists his old club have other threats that cannot be ignored.

“Leigh is right up there with the best SPL strikers,” said the former Falkirk and Sunderland man. “So many of his chances he creates for himself and he works very hard for the team. He’s a top striker and someone we will have to watch very carefully.

“You can’t call Hibs a one-man team at all, though. You can’t put anyone into that bracket. Just have a look at their squad, they have a very good one at Hibs.

“Leigh has stood out because he has scored their goals and that tends to happen. We will have to watch him but there will be dangers all over the park.”

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