Stokes 'a bit of a maverick' says Mjallby

Joe McHugh

Celtic assistant boss Johan Mjallby has praised "maverick" striker Anthony Stokes.

The former Arsenal and Sunderland striker took his Hoops tally to 11 on Saturday with a double against Hibs after being reunited with Gary Hooper.

Celtic face a make-or-break month, chasing the title, Scottish Cup and League Cup, starting with Saturday's visit from in-form Aberdeen, and Mjallby is looking for Stokes to shine.

"Anthony looked sharper again, especially with Hooper alongside him up front," the Swede claimed. "It's probably easier for every striker to have someone playing around them.

"The partnership between Stokes and Hooper looks promising, maybe now and again we will mix things up, but it's good to have options and it means that our opponents won't know how we are going to play.

"Stokesy has got a lot of ability and is a bit of a maverick. The pressure was on him with penalties against Hamilton and Hibs and he put them away well.

"Hooper's a natural goalscorer and there's not too many of them around, his overall play has been brilliant.

"Against Hibs, he looked bright and we asked him before the game if he felt fit enough to start the game.

"He was eager to get started and I felt that he linked up well with Stokesy."


Celtic face a vastly different Aberdeen team to the side that lost 9-0 at Parkhead in November.

Former Scotland boss Craig Brown has transformed the club since replacing Mark McGhee and has lifted the Dons well clear of relegation.

Saturday is the first of three games against Aberdeen within 10 days for Celtic and Mjallby is well aware that they will give them a stern test.

"We can't go into this game thinking we are going to get another 9-0 win," Neil Lennon's No2 warned.

"Aberdeen are a much bigger threat than they were last time, Craig Brown has rebuilt their confidence.

"We'll have to work hard to take the points, it might just take a single goal to win the points.

"At home, we'll always create chances with the attacking players that we have. We have to make sure that we're clinical in front of goal and that our defensive players do their job as well."