ANTHONY Stokes insists dropping down to Scotland’s second tier should not scupper his chances of making Martin O’Neill’s squad for the European Championships.
The Celtic striker has joined Hibernian on loan for the remainder of the season, with the Easter Road outfit currently challenging Rangers and Falkirk for the Scottish Championship title.
Despite the relatively low standard of football, Stokes believes the only thing standing in his way of getting on the plane to France is his lack of fitness due to inactivity, something he hopes to rectify at Hibs.
“Of course I can win my Ireland place back,” he said. “It’s down to me to put in the performances that will take me there and work on my fitness to get it back up to 100%.
“I need to kick on and do my talking on the pitch. I don’t see any reason why I can’t win my place back.
“I haven’t spoken to Martin in the last while and there’s been no assurances. I just want to go out, perform and get my fitness levels up. I haven’t played consistently for five or six months now so I just want to get back into things.”
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old couldn’t resist a dig at Rangers, who are five points clear of Hibs, admitting he would love to rediscover his goalscoring touch to prevent them taking the title.
“Am I here to stop Rangers winning the league? Well it would be nicer for us to win it,” he joked.
To date, Stokes has scored 76 goals in 192 appearances for Celtic, while he is yet to net in nine caps for Ireland.