Hibs striker Anthony Stokes opens up over disciplinary issue

Hibs forward Anthony Stokes insists he is only focused on his football as he opened up about the disciplinary issue that saw him dropped from the squad to face Hamilton last month.

Thursday, 7th December 2017, 2:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th December 2017, 2:58 pm
Anthony Stokes seen during a Hibs training session at East Mains. Picture: SNS Group

After the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw at the SuperSeal Stadium, Hibs boss Neil Lennon confirmed that, while Stokes had been suffering from a virus and that had contributed to his omission from the squad, there had also been a “discipline problem”.

But speaking to Sky Sports Scotland ahead of Celtic’s visit to Easter Road this Sunday, Stokes insisted that there were no hard feelings between himself and Lennon.

The Irish striker, who has netted nine goals in 15 appearances this season, said: “There was a slight disagreement outside, but I think there were other factors that came into it.

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Neil Lennon sought to play down the rift between the two. Picture: SNS Group

“I was coming off the back of being injured for a couple of weeks, then I had a virus for two or three days so as far as I was concerned it really wasn’t much.

“[But] everything’s fine with myself and the gaffer - I’ve been down this road with him before.”

During the pair’s time at Celtic, Lennon said Stokes had been ‘walking on very thin ice’ but hailed the striker for knuckling down and becoming “a really good professional”.

The duo were reunited earlier this year when Lennon brought Stokes back to Easter Road for a third spell, after his second stint on loan from Celtic in the latter half of the 2015/16 season, when he helped Hibs to Scottish Cup glory.

Neil Lennon sought to play down the rift between the two. Picture: SNS Group

Stokes added: “It’s done and it’s dusted now and it’s not been mentioned since. I genuinely didn’t see much of an issue with it to be honest, and I don’t now.

“It’s done, it’s over with, so I’m just focusing on my football.”

Hibs boss Neil Lennon added: “I’ve known Stokesy a long time and I know his talent, I know his personality. He knows me as well.

“He stepped across the disciplinary line, for me - he missed out on a game and he came back in and he was ready to go again, he accepted that he was in the wrong.”

Shortly after Hibs confirmed the signing of Stokes in August, Lennon said: “He knows there is a line that he can’t cross with me. He managed that very well for four years [at Celtic] and there’s no reason why he can’t do it again.

“I think sometimes it gets blown out of proportion. I’ve known him for a long time and I know the type of kid he is. He’s all right. If he needs a stick across the backside, then he’ll get one.”

Stokes is likely to start for Hibs against his former employers on Sunday, where he’ll be hoping to help end the Parkhead side’s unbeaten domestic run.