Anthony Stokes scored his first goal for Celtic as the Hoops came from behind for a deserved 2-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

The visitors lost their first league goal of the season when Conor Sammon gave Killie the lead after only seven minutes but just before the break, Stokes, on for the injured Paddy McCourt, was brought down by Frazer Wright and Daryl Murphy netted the penalty.

Former Hibernian striker Stokes converted an Emilio Izaguirre cross from close range in the 51st minute and the Parkhead men looked comfortable for the rest of the second half giving Neil Lennon his 13 straight SPL win since becoming Celtic manager.

A clean sheet victory for the visitors would have seen them record their best start to a domestic campaign since 1906 - five wins without losing a goal. But it took only seven minutes for that statistic to disappear. Alexei Eremenko's clever pass sent Killie's lone-striker Sammon through on goal and the Irishman lost Celtic defender Glenn Loovens before slotting low past Hoops' keeper Fraser Forster for a dramatic if unexpected opener.

The rest of the half was controlled by the visitors with McCourt, who had returned at the expense of injured James Forrest, looking the biggest threat to Killie with his mazy runs. However, in the 21st minute the former Derry City player landed awkwardly on the bye-line following a tussle with Eremenko, appearing to injure his shoulder, and had to be replaced by Stokes.

In the 40th minute, after another period of intense pressure, Rugby Park defender Wright clumsily brought Stokes down in the box to concede a penalty. Murphy sent Bell the wrong way from the spot to deservedly level the scores - albeit from Celtic's first direct shot at goal.

Moments from the break, Parkhead defender Cha Du-Ri's deflected cross from the right hit the Killie bar but the home side survived and held out for the three minutes of added time.

After half-time Celtic displayed a more direct attitude and it paid off in the 51st minute when Stokes scored his first goal since signing from Hibs just before the transfer window closed.

Izaguirre took a pass from Shaun Maloney and his cross from the left sped across the box leaving the Irishman to volley in from close range before taking the acclaim of the travelling fans behind the goal.

The home side did push forward more and in the 77th minute Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic, who had taken the armband from Brown, put in a great tackle to prevent Sammon getting past him inside the Celtic penalty area.

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Topics:
#Daryl Murphy
#Frazer Wright
#Shaun Maloney
#Fraser Forster
#Football
#Anthony Stokes
#Premier League
#Neil Lennon
#Glenn Loovens
#Queens Park Rangers