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Stokes strikes late to seal Celtic win

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03 Aug 2013 21:46:54

Stokes strikes late to seal Celtic win

A late Anthony Stokes strike gave profligate Celtic a 2-1 victory over Ross County in their Scottish Premiership opener at Parkhead.

Staggies debutant Darren Maatsen stunned the Hoops fans after just two minutes when he lashed the ball high past Celtic keeper Fraser Forster from the edge of the box.

Stokes levelled with a scrappy goal in the 27th minute and Celtic pounded the Dingwall team for most of the game thereafter, hitting woodwork twice amid a litany of missed chances before the Irishman grabbed his second in the 87th minute.

Aside from the sheer amount of chances his side missed, another worry for Neil Lennon would be the injury to debutant Derk Boerrigter.

The 26-year-old Dutch wide man, who signed a four-year deal from Ajax in midweek for a reported fee of £3million, was replaced by Tony Watt near the end of the first half after picking up a knock.

He may be doubtful for the second leg of Celtic's Champions League third qualifier against Elfsborg in Sweden on Wednesday night, the Hoops travelling with a 1-0 win from the first leg in Glasgow.

The Celtic players were given a guard of honour by County before John Keane, honorary chairman of Celtic, along with chairman Ian Bankier, unfurled the club's 44th championship flag.

The champions appeared to be caught cold when play began. Debutant Kevin Luckassen had a decent chance in the opening moments when he was played in by another new boy Graham Carey but he hesitated with his shot blocked by Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew.

However, when County next went up the park, Stuart Kettlewell laid the ball off to Maatsen at the edge of the box, the former Excelsior Maassluis player thundered a drive past the flailing Forster and in off the crossbar.

That was enough to shake Celtic into action and Boerrigter missed two chances to score with Stokes inexplicably passing up on another opportunity by passing to Joe Ledley 12 yards out when he should have shot.


PA

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