Ex-Hibs and Celtic ace Anthony Stokes leaves Livingston due to artificial surface

The striker has been training with Livi for around four weeks

By Joel Sked
Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 9:56 am
Anthony Stokes has left Livingston following difficulties with the artificial surface. Picture: SNS
Anthony Stokes has left Livingston following difficulties with the artificial surface. Picture: SNS

Livingston have confirmed the departure of Anthony Stokes despite not playing for the side.

The club have revealed the player has struggled to adapt to the “intense training” plan on the artificial surface put in place by management.

Stokes joined the West Lothian outfit last month on a free contract after leaving Iranian side Persepolis.

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He was seen as an experienced and proven replacement for Lyndon Dykes having hit 136 goals in Scottish football with successful spells at Falkirk, Celtic and Hibs.

However, it hasn't worked out at the Tony Macaroni Arena with David Martindale, Livingston’s head of football operations, noting the frustration of being unable to get the player into shape and that the astro turf surface doesn’t "suit everyone”

He said: “Stokesy has been in training for approximately 4 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.”

The 32-year-old is now on the lookout for the 14th club of his career.