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Wednesday 16 August 2017

Stokes satisfied to set up Commons' winner

Anthony Stokes played a key role in Celtic's 1-0 Europa League win over Dinamo Zagreb last night setting up Kris Commons for the only goal of the game.

The former Sunderland and Hibs striker hasn't scored a European goal for three seasons but has grown immune to the stats-fired critics quick to attack his game.

After two games playing on the left wing Stokes was restored to a striking role against Dinamo as a consequence of John Guidetti being ineligible for the match.

Positions and tactics were replaced by instinct in the sixth minute when Emilio Izaguirre played a promising ball towards the penalty box.

A step-over by Commons was followed by a brilliantly weighted pass by Stokes into the penalty box with Commons drilling a low diagonal shot past goalkeeper Eduardo from 15 yards.

"Kris is a great player, we know each other's game and it was good to see the ball hit the back of the net," Stokes admitted. "As a striker you like to be scoring goals but setting up a winning goal is just as satisfying.

"It was an exciting match with plenty of action at both ends. Dinamo had their chances but I felt that we were worth the win. It's still early days for this team but we dug in well to get the points.

"We've got a great keeper in Craig Gordon who came up with some important saves. Wins like this help when you have a lot of new players coming in."

Dinamo were barely in the match for the first half hour but after Wilson Eduardo hit the bar in the 28th minute the Croatian champions showed their pedigree.

Gordon pulled off three stunning saves to secure the points with the Scotland keeper stepping into the boots of Fraser Forster with ease despite two full seasons out of football.

While their Champions League conquers Maribor prepare to face Chelsea at home and away, Celtic have to make do with playing Astra of Romania.

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