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16th Sep 2020

“It’s like everything else, these geniuses have all got that flaw in them”

Patrick McCarry

The man they call ‘Yogi’ has stepped forward to defend Stokes.

Anthony Stokes has now parted ways with Livingston but he does so with a questionable, and very public, reference.

On Tuesday, the Scottish Premiership side announced they had come to a mutual contract termination decision with the Republic of Ireland international. David Martindale, their head of football operations, stated:

“In all honesty, it’s not quite worked out in terms of the on-field ball work and intense training schedule we had put in place. He is struggling to adapt to training 2-3 hours per day on the Astro Turf surface – we all know it doesn’t and won’t suit everyone.”

“Whilst trying to get the player in shape,” he added, “it’s been extremely frustrating for all of us, staff and player alike, that we can’t seem to get the intense training needed into the player.”

The 32-year-old has nine Ireland caps and a decent goal-scoring return of 160 in 418 games for his career, to date. He has been a success at Hibernian and Celtic, as well as having a fruitful loan spell with Falkirk before he turned 20.

John Hughes (right) Inverness manager chats to Anthony Stokes at Celtic Park in 2015. (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

John ‘Yogi’ Hughes managed Stokes at Falkirk and during the striker’s first spell at Hibernian. Speaking to The Daily Record, Hughes mused on Stokes’ four-week stint at Livingston and urged other clubs to look at him as a free agent option.

“Livingston are all for one and one for all, that’s their strength. But Stokesy’s not that character, he’s more of an individual. He just wants to do his stuff and put the ball in the net. There should be a place for these guys in teams.”

“I love him to bits,” he added, “I can’t say a bad word against him… it frustrates me that he’s only got nine [Ireland] caps. But it’s like everything else, these geniuses have all got that flaw in them.”

Stokes scored 40 goals in 66 games for Hughes, at Falkirk and Hibernian, so he obviously remembers him fondly. He was the man that took Stokes on loan from Arsenal, in 2006, just a year after he had turned down Roy Keane’s Sunderland to move to London.

Hughes believes many teams would benefit from the ‘rough diamond’. Given his goalscoring record, particularly in Scotland, it would be no surprise to see the free agent Dubliner getting snapped up in the coming weeks.

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