ANTHONY STOKES last night officially left Celtic as Brendan Rodgers’ revolution begins to gain pace.
“Everyone at Celtic would sincerely like to wish Anthony the very best of success for the future,” Celtic stated on the official site while confirming the player’s departure.
The Irishman, who famously netted twice for Hibernian in the Scottish Cup final, leaves the 5 in a row champions after the club decided not to take up his one year contract renewal clause.
The 27 year-old was signed in 2010 by Neil Lennon in his first year in charge of Celtic from Hibernian for a fee of around £1.2 million. However, midway through Ronny Deila’s first season in charge, Stokes was fined and fell down the manager’s pecking order due to arriving back late from international break.
This falling-out escalated in November when Stokes tweeted stating his unhappiness of not being picked in the squad but still travelling to the game away to Inverness. He was subsequently loaned to Hibs in the January window.
Stokes scored 76 goals in 191 appearances for the Celtic Park club with his last appearance coming for the Bhoys at Tannadice in August and was clearly at his happiest with Lennon as manager and while partnering Gary Hooper in the Celtic front line.
Stokes is already being linked with a return with former gaffers, Neil Lennon and Alan Stubbs. Hibernian’s appointment of Lennon could lead to the former Celtic pair reuniting as Hibs attempt to take their third challenge for promotion. Meanwhile, Lennon’s predecessor at Hibs, , the Scottish Cup winner Alan Stubbs has indicated that he is interested in bringing Stokes to his new Sky Bet Championship club.
The new Rotherham boss said: “I wouldn’t rule out an interest in Anthony Stokes. But we wouldn’t be on our own.
“There will be a number of clubs interested him, particularly if it’s a free transfer.
“I know him from his time at Hibs and at Celtic. Obviously, it doesn’t hurt that I have a good relationship with him already.
“I like to have a good relationship with all my players. I talk to them before and after training. I have had a lot of players from Hibs ring or text me to wish me well since I moved to Rotherham.”
A former Arsenal youth player, Stokes joined the Scottish champions in 2010 having refused a deal to sign on at Paradise earlier in his career, opting for a move to Sunderland. He scored 76 goals in 192 appearances for Celtic, but played just twice last season under Deila.
He will be remembered for inspiring a comeback from 3-0 down at Kilmarnock, which saved Neil Lennon’s job and for scoring those two goals which helped Hibernian beat ‘The Rangers’ in the Scottish Cup Final, denying the 2012 formed Ibrox club its first ever major trophy.