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Anthony Stokes leaves Livingston three weeks into contract

The striker has struggled with training on an artificial pitch and agreed to tear up his contract.

Anthony Stokes leaves Livingston three weeks into contract SNS

Anthony Stokes has left Livingston just three weeks into a one-year contract after struggling to train on the club’s artificial pitch.

The former Celtic and Hibs striker had returned to Scotland after spells in Iran, Turkey and Greece, hoping to find regular football and help Gary Holt’s side follow up on an impressive season last time out.

Stokes had been in training to build up fitness before making his debut.

Livingston director of football operations David Martindale said that training on an artificial surface had become an issue for the former Republic of Ireland international and he had approached management about ripping up his contract.

“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,” he said.

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 two-to-three hours per day on the Astro Turf surface – we all know it doesn’t and won’t suit everyone.”

Martindale praised Stokes for being honest about the issue.

He said: “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 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.”