Stokes can't wait for league business to resume
By: Laura Brannan on 03 Aug, 2012 14:10
SEASON 2012/13 will officially get underway tomorrow, (Saturday), when the championship flag is unfurled inside Celtic Park and the SPL holders get the ball rolling against Aberdeen.
Anthony Stokes can´t wait to get back to business, and although the competitive football began last Wednesday evening with a European tie against HJK Helsinki, Stokes is eager to launch Celtic´s defence of their title this weekend.
"We´re looking forward to it," the Irishman said today. "We had our first competitive game the other night and we got a win, so we´re looking forward to the start of the SPL season now.
"We´ve put Helsinki to the back of our minds and it´s all about getting a good result tomorrow now. We´re obviously thinking about it and we know it´s coming up, but our main focus is tomorrow."
With the SPL having a different complexion this year, it´s yet to be seen who will emerge as the main contenders for Celtic´s crown. But Stokes knows there are a number of good teams in the top division who will be a difficult challenge over the coming months.
"Aberdeen have made some good signings but I think every team is going to be dangerous this year," he continued. "The other teams will try and step up now and really try and compete.
"It´s tough winning every game. It´s not easy winning games week in, week out and it will be exactly the same this year.
"I think it´s hard for any team to compete. When I was with Hibs we competed up until Christmas and then you could see who had the bigger and stronger squads after the New Year and towards the end of the season. But everyone is in the mix now and it will make it more competitive."
Aberdeen are the lunchtime visitors this Saturday (KO: 12.45pm) and Stokes will welcome back a familiar face when Niall McGinn returns to the club he only just left at the end of last season.
"Niall´s a great lad, he´s a great friend of mine," he added. "I think he´ll do very well for them but hopefully not tomorrow.
"He has pace, and they have Jonny Hayes there as well so they´re going to be dangerous on the flanks. We will have to watch out for them."
Celtic’s first SPL game of the new season kicks off at home this Saturday, August 4 at 12.45pm, with Aberdeen the visitors. So make sure you get along early to enjoy all the pre-match festivities.
There are still tickets available for what is sure to be a special Celtic occasion. They are priced from £29 adults and from £17 concessions. So come along to Paradise to see the league flag being unfurled by club legend, Sean Fallon, and then cheer on the Scottish Champions.
Tickets can be purchased ONLINE, by calling 0871 226 1888, option 1, option 2* or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office.
Tickets are also available in the following Celtic retail outlets: Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street, Clydebank, Coatbridge, East Kilbride.
*Calls cost up to 10p per minute, telecoms provider dependent. Mobile and other provider charges may vary.