Anthony Stokes has Livingston contract terminated after Astro Turf struggles 1 week ago

Anthony Stokes has Livingston contract terminated after Astro Turf struggles

The Ireland international lasted just under four weeks with his new club.

Anthony Stokes will soon be on the look-out for a new club and doing so with one of the shakiest references going from his previous employers.

Having started his professional career with Arsenal, Stokes ended up having the most success in the Scottish Premiership. He won four league titles and three cups with Celtic and scored 76 goals during his six seasons at Parkhead. He also had three different spells with Hibernian and helped them win the Scottish Cup in 2016.

A drift has set in, however, over the past four years, and Stokes has made appearances for seven different sides. He had spells in Greece, Iran and Turkey before Livingston took a punt on him for the 2020/21 season.

Anthony Stokes pictured after scoring for Hibernian in the 2016 Scottish Cup final. (Credit: Getty Images)

The 32-year-old, who has nine Ireland caps arrived at the Premiership club in mid August but never ended up playing a game for them. In a statement released this morning, the club confirmed Stokes would be moving on after struggling with the 'intense training schedule we had put in place'.

Under the headline 'Anthony Stokes Departs', Livingston's head of football operations, David Martindale commented:

"Stokesy has been in training for approximately four weeks now and it’s fair to say that we both knew that there was going to be a lot of work to be done to get Anthony into top shape to play Premiership football.

"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. Of course, Anthony knew the surface we had in place but each player adapts to that differently and you can’t know how your body will feel adapting to it until you’ve been out there and played or trained on it frequently. We know it isn’t for everyone and sadly, that’s been the case for Anthony.”

"Whilst trying to get the player in shape, 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.

"To be fair to Anthony, he has noticed this himself and he approached us with the option to terminate. This allows both the player and the club to explore other opportunities.

"It’s a real shame that the Livingston FC fans didn’t get to see Anthony wear the number 9 shirt for Livingston on the field. In the short spells we did get a chance to work with him, you could certainly see the quality he possesses."

There was a mutual agreement to terminate the contract and, as Martindale notes himself, that option was first mooted by Stokes himself. Where the striker, who has 418 career appearances and 160 goals, goes from here is anyone's guess.

Livingston, meanwhile, could really do with a proven goalscorer. They sit 11th in the Premiership after scoring just six goals in their first seven games.