GLASGOW (AFP) – Anthony Stokes produced a moment of magic to clinch a late winner for Celtic as they came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Ross County in their first match of the new Scottish Premiership season.
County had taken a surprise third minute lead through a sensational strike from debutant Darren Maatsen at Parkhead on Saturday.
From that moment on it was all Celtic with Stokes tapping home an equaliser from close range in the 27th minute.
The Hoops were left frustrated as Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew both hit the woodwork as they dominated the second half.
Stokes had a penalty appeal turned down before the Irishman got away from a couple of markers to send a low drive past Mark Brown for an 87th minute winner.
Last season's championship flag had barely been unfurled before kick-off when Dutchman Maatsen marked his first game for Ross County with a stunning third minute goal.
The former Excelsior winger rattled a ferocious strike in off the underside of the crossbar from just inside the penalty area with goalkeeper Fraser Forster well beaten.
Celtic had chances to equalise with their own debutant Derk Boerrigter missing two decent opportunities.
The former Ajax winger headed wide from 10 yards before failing to beat Mark Brown with a low shot when one-on-one with the keeper.
But Stokes deservedly prodded home the equaliser for Celtic.
Joe Ledley's shot fell to Boerrigter whose header came back off a post and Irishman Stokes was on hand to tap it into the empty net from a yard out.
Celtic peppered the Ross County goal with shots in the second half, with Stokes firing just wide shortly after the restart.
Commons was then found in acres of space in the box by a James Forrest cutback but he scooped his drive off the top of the bar.
Mulgrew then sent a header from a corner crashing off the post as Celtic came close to taking the lead.
The Hoops were denied what looked like a legitimate penalty claim late on when Stokes appeared to be barged off the ball by Brian McLean but the referee waved away their protests.
Stokes had the last laugh when he collected a Commons pass before stepping inside two markers and beating Brown with a low drive at his near post.
Elsewhere, Aberdeen got their campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Kilmarnock 2-1 at Pittodrie.
Jonny Hayes put Aberdeen ahead as he fired home before new signing Willo Flood headed in a second for the Dons on his competitive debut.
Kilmarnock were given brief hope when Kris Boyd pulled one back with a shot that went in off the post but Aberdeen held on.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle top the Premiership after goals from James Vincent, Aaron Doran and Billy McKay helped them to a 3-0 win over 10-man St Mirren, who had David van Zanten sent off.