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CONFIRMED: STOKES LEAVES LIVI

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LIVINGSTON have confirmed former Celtic and Hibs striker Anthony Stokes has left the club by mutual consent.

David Martindale, the West Lothian club’s Head of Football Operations, speaking to the Glasgow Times, said: “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 onfield ball work and intense training schedule we had put in place. He is struggling to adapt to training two-three 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 on the field. In the short spells we did get a chance to work with him, you could certainly see the quality he possesses.”
Stokes, 32, who spent six years at Parkhead after signing from Hibs in 2010, held talks with Livi chiefs before today’s announcement.

The one-time Arsenal, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers hitman, who was the Easter Road club’s two-goal hero in their 3-2 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Rangers in 2016, had been out of football since being released by Iranian side Persepolis in May.

Stokes, who also had a short stint in Greece with Apollon Smyrmi, was keen on a fresh start with Livi.

The former Republic of Ireland frontman is now on the look-out for a new club as he hopes to revive his career.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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