Celts stoked by win despite Izaguirre injury

Joe McHugh

A crucial second-half goal from Anthony Stokes saw off Aberdeen yesterday but Celtic will have to do without Emilio Izaguirre for up to six months after the defender fractured his right fibula.

A bread and butter challenge with Aberdeen's Peter Powlett left Izaguirre in agony, with Neil Lennon showing his concern for last season's triple Player of the Year award winner by racing trackside to assess the damage.

The Celtic boss was clearly in despair during the first half when it was confirmed that Izaguirre had suffered a fracture, whilst his side made heavy weather against an Aberdeen team that lost 21 goals in five matches against the Hoops last season.

Paddy McCourt was stripped and ready to replace Stokes when Kris Commons dispossessed Rickie Forster before exchanging passes with Stokes who steered the ball into the net.

After last season's goal feasts against the Dons, Celtic were relieved to take the three points that keep them ahead of Rangers and a point behind leaders Motherwell with a game in hand.

"There will be frustrating games for us this season," Stokes admitted. "We know it's going to be tough at times but sometimes you just need to dig in, sometimes you just need to wait until the 94th minute.


"I think we've got the patience. We didn't start lumping the ball up then trying to pick up the pieces.

"We kept knocking it about pretty well and trying to create some chances. Eventually we got that goal. I don't think we ever worried it wasn't coming.

"Sometimes the crowd can get on your back or frustrate you but we did well. We kept playing football. Aberdeen defended well, which is why we needed to try and play around them."

Izaguirre instantly solved Celtic's problem left-back position when he was signed last season with Lennon admitting that he may have to go into the transfer market for a replacement.

Charlie Mulgrew stepped into the position yesterday, with new signing Adam Matthews capable of playing in either full-back position.

Celtic's Europa League opponents Sion drew 3-3 away to Swiss champions Basel on Saturday.