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Anthony Stokes leaves Livingston after struggling to adapt to artificial surface

Rangers v Hibernian – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Ian Rutherford)

Anthony Stokes has left Livingston without making an appearance for the Scottish Premiership outfit.

The 32-year-old former Hibernian and Celtic striker joined the Lions on a one-year deal last month after leaving Iranian side Persepolis.

However, problems training on Livingston’s artificial surface arose and the West Lothian club announced that “Livingston FC and Anthony Stokes regrettably announce a mutually agreed termination of the contract between both parties”.

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Head of football operations David Martindale told the club’s official website: “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 AstroTurf 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.

The former Celtic striker signed a one-year deal at Livingston last month

The former Celtic striker signed a one-year deal at Livingston last month (Jeff Holmes/PA)

“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 nine 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.”