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Stokes completes late double

2 - 1
Ross County

Celtic Park

Sat 3rd Aug 5.15pm

Attendance: 45,705


Celtic began the defence of their title with a victory but they had to come from behind against a determined Ross County to achieve it.

The visitors took a shock third-minute lead through Derek Maatsen before Anthony Stokes levelled from close-range just ahead of the half-hour. The Irishman then grabbed a late winner with just three minutes remaining.

Following the celebrations of the unfurling of the league flag, Celtic were instantly rocked as Maatsen crashed the visitors in front off the underside of the crossbar.

Hoops debutant Derk Boerrigter headed James Forrest's cross wide in reply before then seizing upon a Kris Commons pass and forcing a decent reaction from keeper Mark Brown.

Forrest next struck wide of the near post while Brown was needed again to keep out Commons. From the subsequent corner both Commons and Mikael Lustig tried their luck until Stokes finally scrambled the ball over the line to equalise.

But a knock for newcomer Boerrigter saw him replaced by Tony Watt eight minutes before the break, although it was Stokes twice threatening as Brown saved first before the striker volleyed wide after the restart.

Commons went close to earning the lead with a fierce shot against the crossbar while Brown rescued team-mate Grant Munro when diverting Stokes' cross towards his own goal.

Celtic were once more frustrated by the woodwork as Charlie Mulgrew headed a Commons corner against an upright before Stokes was denied a penalty after being bundled over in the area by Brian McLean.

Busy goalkeeper Brown was again the visitors' saviour when blocking from Commons with his legs, but could do nothing as hit-man Stokes struck a dramatic late winner past him at the near post.

Celtic: Forster, Lustig (Matthews 68), Ambrose, Mulgrew, Izaguirre, Brown, Ledley, Commons, Boerrigter (Watt 37), Forrest (Kayal 90), Stokes

subs (unused): Zaluska, Mouyokolo, McGeouch, Balde

Goals: Stokes (27, 87)

Ross County: Brown, Kovacevic, Gordon, Munro, McLean, Kettlewell, Micic, Quinn, Maatsen (Couper 62), Carey (Saunders 71), Luckassen (Mustafi 83)

subs: Fraser, Klok, De Leeuw, Ross

Goals: Maatsen (3)

Ref: Collum

Att: 45,705


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Date:Sunday August 4 2013
Time: 12:35AM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Celtic 34 23 8 3 77 53
2 Aberdeen 34 21 5 8 68 17
3 Hearts 34 17 9 8 60 20
4 Motherwell 34 14 5 15 47 -7
5 St. Johnstone 34 13 7 14 46 0
6 Ross County 34 13 5 16 44 -7
7 Dundee 34 10 14 10 44 0
8 Inverness 34 11 10 13 43 -1
9 Partick 34 11 8 15 41 -8
10 Hamilton 34 10 9 15 39 -17
11 Kilmarnock 34 8 8 18 32 -23
12 Dundee United 34 6 6 22 24 -27
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