ANTHONY STOKES came close to joining Stefan Scepovic on a loan deal exit from Celtic on the last day of the transfer deadline day.
The Republic of Ireland international striker was wanted by ex-Hoops boss Neil Lennon at cash strapped Bolton.
And another Championship side, Birmingham City, also had the 27-year-old in their sights. First team appearances are now few and far between for the player who cost Lennon £1million from Hibs five years ago.
Stokes has dropped down the pecking order with Nadir Ciftci joining the club from Dundee United for £1.3million in July. And Leigh Griffiths has battled his way into Ronny Deila’s future plans with some exhilarating performances while notching up a stream of excellent strikes.
The four-in-a-row champions were linked with Scotland international attack leader Steven Fletcher and Swansea’s frozen-out Spaniard Michu. Although neither move materialised, it looked as though they were still prepared to allow Stokes to move on.
Bolton and Birmingham made their moves to lure the player to English football where he started his career at Arsenal and had a brief and unsuccessful spell at Sunderland.
However, contracts could not be agreed and Stokes realises he will have to stay and fight for a place in Deila’s squad.
Struggling Serb Scepovic agreed a season-long temporary move to Getafe with the option of a permanent deal at around £1.5million for the misfiring marksman who cost Celtic £2.3million from Sporting Gijon last summer.
Scepovic was reluctant to come to Glasgow in the first place and must have been delighted to get away. Stokes now have until January to convince Deila that he should be part of the manager’s plans. Over to you Tony…
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