Tag Archives: Anthony Stokes

Old Firm clash to decide Scottish Premier League

By Ryan Fleming

It made me laugh. It really did.

About a month ago there claimed to be a three-team race for the SPL title. That dream or apparition was immediately squashed the next weekend when Neil Lennon’s Celtic quickly silenced Hearts, 4-0, and seemingly laughed at the prospect of another title challenger. It was the now injured James Forrest strike within three minutes, followed by a double by Anthony Stokes and another thank-you-very-much by Patrick McCourt.

Since then, the Hoops have been nearly invincible, playing to a 3-0-1 record, including a 2-2 tie to Rangers two weeks ago. This weekend the two teams meet again in what will be the season for either team.

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Neil Lennon leading Celtic to the top of the SPL despite doubters

By Ryan Fleming

There were times in the last several months where the appointment of Neil Lennon as the manager of Celtic FC were questioned, even debated. From getting embarrassed out of the European play to making some curious transfer choices, the Northern Irishman’s time at Celtic Park has been questioned. Now, five points ahead of Rangers, with two games in hand, Lennon is coming into the three most important weeks of his reign as the manager of Celtic while finally having approval of club’s faithful.

This Saturday in a special third out of five Old Firm derbies, Celtic take on Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final. Not only is winning the final obviously important to Lennon’s popularity amongst the Celtic faithful, but it will also prove that the club’s former midfielder is up to monumental games – situations where Lennon has limped out of in the past. Lest not forget crashing out of not only the Champions League, but the Europa League in equally astonishing fashion.

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Georgios Samaras breaks out against Rangers, but Celtic needs more from the Greek

Georgios Samaras scored Celtic's two goals on Sunday in the club's important win over cross-town rivals Rangers. Samaras has disappointed for much of his time in Glassgow, but at times he breaks out and shows just what he is capable of. (Courtesy Football-Wallpapers.org)

By Ryan Fleming

In every sport there are players that seem to turn on the charm, or play to their ability whenever they feel like it. In Celtic’s 2-0 win over cross-town rival Rangers Sunday afternoon, Georgios Samaras proved once again that he continues to fall under that list.

Nothing frustrates supporters, managers and board members more than players like the lanky Greek international. When Samaras takes the field, no one knows what to expect. This offseason, Samaras played arguably better than any player to don the Hoops. Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his long-haired forward, giving him his utmost confidence in continuing his impressive run.

In typical fashion, the fun ended as quickly as it started. Samaras quickly morphed into his lethargic self, seldom making runs, making atrocious first touches and failing to find the back of the net so often it was as if opponent’s asked him to do so before the game.

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Celtic Deserved Win Over Dundee United Despite Referee's Decision

Dundee United were unable to hold onto a 1-1 draw with Celtic at Tannadice Stadium this past weekend despite a controversial decision by the referee. Courtesy Benson85

By Ryan Fleming

It wouldn’t have been right. An injustice would have been done. But before Gary Hooper scored his second goal of a 2-1 win over Dundee United on Sunday at Tannadice, it seemed as if the Hoops were headed back to Celtic Park feeling gutted, cheated.

“It was one of the best performances I’ve seen since I’ve been in charge of the team in terms of attacking, quality football,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon told soccernet.com. “I’m very proud of the team, and despite a very controversial decision going against us, they never let their heads go down, we kept creating chances and we got what we deserved.”

Referee Dougie McDonald’s controversial call saw Hooper denied a penalty with his team even to United, 1-1, in the 69th minute. The former Scunthrope striker clashed with Dundee keeper, Dusan Pernis. McDonald awarded the penalty immediately, but to overturn his own decision minutes after conferring with assistant Steven Craven.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 20

Holland international Rafael van der Vaart caught on quick to how important the Tottenham and Arsenal rivalry is to the players and the fans. Courtesy Paul Blank

Sky Sports — Rafael issues Gunners taunt

Tottenham’s new boy Rafael van der Vaart wasted no time in joining in on the Spurs rivalry with Arsenal. The London clubs face off this week in a Carling Cup tie, and van der Vaart already knows the importance of the Spurs and Gunners match. This is for the right to boast about being the better club in the city, something every fan and player wants to be able to do. The Dutchman has issued his warning, calling Spurs “the bigger club,” after Spurs 3-1 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Guardian — Roma lacking testicular fortitude as press gets under Ranieri’s skin — by Paolo Bandini

Roma was many pundits favorite club to challenge Inter Milan, and even dethrone the five time defending champions. Doesn’t look like Roma will be mounting a surge anytime soon if they continue to play like a bunch of aging stars with no heart. Claudio Ranieri decided to have a temper tantrum this weekend before Roma’s match with Bologne, and it didn’t do him much good because his squad didn’t back up his word. Instead, the team threw away a two goal lead late in the game and is still searching for its first win of the season.

BBC — Berbatov exposes Liverpool decline — by Phil McNulty

The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry has been well documented, and Sir Alex Fergusson, United’s manager, even went so far as to say that the match-up is the “most important fixture.” Roy Hodgson and Liverpool must not have thought so– except for maybe a few of the players– because the team didn’t really show up until the second half, and even then they just strolled along at a snail’s tempo while United’s Bulgarian hitman, Dimitar Berbatov, was scoring a hat-trick and leading the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over the Reds.

ESPNSoccernet — Back in the big time — by Phil Ball

Xabi Alonso grew up a Real Sociedad fan. He played for the Basque club before being swiped up by Liverpool. He still carries a fan membership card for the club, but now he wears the hated Real Madrid jersey and had to face his old club for the first time this past weekend. Alonso and Madrid got lucky with a 2-1 win. The game should have gone to the hosts and Madrid should have gone home licking their wounds, but Sociedad missed its chances and Madrid made its count. Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho said this fixture would be Madrid’s toughest of the season as they entered into a hostile stadium against last year’s division two champions, and he was right. It was an impressive performance by the Basque club, but theysquandered too many chances.

Evening Times — No yearning for marquee signings as Anthony Stokes displays his intent… — by Thomas Jordon

Celtic fell behind early to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Hoops latest signing, Anthony Stokes, earned a penalty kick,  Daryl Murphy slotted it home, and scored the game-winning goal as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Stokes wasn’t Neil Lennon’s first choice signing during the transfer window– Lennon was looking to bring in either Robbie Keane or Craig Bellamy, but was unable to. Yet, the Irish International could be a bargain for Celtic and Lennon, and just the type of player the Hoops need to overtake Rangers and claim back the top-spot in the SPL.

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