Stokes double sends Celtic clear
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Celtic cemented their position on top of the Scottish Premier League as Anthony Stokes scored twice in a 3-0 win at Hibernian today.

Neil Lennon's side are now eight points clear of second-placed Rangers, who host Hamilton later today, thanks to Stokes' second-half double and Gary Hooper's opener just before the break.

Stokes moved to Celtic in August after helping Hibs to fourth place last season and his goals condemned his old club to a 12th league loss of the campaign, which left them firmly in a relegation battle.

Hoops captain Scott Brown and Hooper were back from injury and their presence revitalised a Celtic team which drew 1-1 at Hamilton in midweek - the in-form Stokes injury-time penalty giving them a point.

Lennon is appealing a six-match touchline ban imposed this week after he was sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson during a defeat by Hearts in November. Thomson was back in charge here at Easter Road but Lennon had no need to question any decisions as Celtic ran riot.

Hibs had made a bright start with David Wotherspoon heading wide from Lewis Stevenson's cross in the opening minute before Derek Riordan hit a 30-yard free-kick over. But Celtic piled on the pressure after that and Daniel Majstorovic wasted a free header from close range following Mark Wilson's free-kick.

Hooper was played through by an incisive pass from Beram Kayal and his shot drew a fine save from Mark Brown. However, Hooper converted his second chance in the 44th minute. Stokes picked out his strike partner with a clever pass and Hooper skipped past Francis Dickoh before firing home.

Lennon's side increased their lead five minutes after half-time. Stevenson brought down Stokes with a rash lunge just inside the penalty area and Thomson immediately pointed to the spot.

Stokes stroked home the spot-kick with ease and almost added another when he shot wide from Paddy McCourt's pass. Then McCourt showed his trademark dribbling skill before winning a corner with a shot that Brown scrambled around the post.

From the corner Stokes netted his second as he brought down Izaguirre's cross and lofted the ball into the top corner. Stokes could have had a hat-trick but for a goal-line clearance from Dickoh but the points were already secure.