Anthony Stokes leaves Livingston after Astro turf pitch struggles

Former Arsenal and Celtic striker Anthony Stokes quits Livingston after just just THREE WEEKS… and they pin the blame how he’s struggled to train on their plastic pitch!

  • Irish striker joined Livingston last month but has now terminated his contract
  • Stokes, 32, didn’t make an appearance for the Scottish Premiership club 
  • The club have revealed he struggled to adapt to training on an artificial surface
  • Livingston play their home matches at Tony Macaroni Arena on Astro turf
  • Stokes had played in Iran, Greece and Turkey after leaving Celtic in 2016 

Anthony Stokes has left Scottish Premiership club Livingston after ‘struggling to adapt’ to hours of training on an Astro turf pitch.

The former Republic of Ireland international striker has ‘mutually agreed’ to terminate his contract after less than a month at the club and without making an appearance.

Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena has an artificial surface and the club revealed this was the primary reason Stokes departed the club so soon.

Anthony Stokes has left Livingston without playing a game after ‘struggling to adapt’ to training on an artificial playing surface

Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena has an Astro turf pitch and it didn’t suit the Irish striker

Head of football operations David Martindale said: ‘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.

Stokes watches Livingston’s Premiership match against Aberdeen from the stands last month

The synthetic surface at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena pictured before their latest game

‘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 No 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.’

Stokes signed a one-year contract with Livingston on August 22.

It was the latest stop-off in an itinerant career that has seen Stokes play in various European countries after six years with Celtic between 2010 and 2016 as well as English clubs Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers.

Former Celtic striker Stokes had returned to Scotland after playing in Greece, Iran and Turkey

In February 2018, he joined the Greek club Apollon Smyrni but had his contract terminated after just four matches after going missing from training for a week.

Stokes then signed for Tractor of the Iranian league before spells at Turkish club Adana Demirspor and another Iranian club in Persepolis.

He left Iran following the suspension of the league because of the Covid-19 pandemic and his contract at Persepolis was later terminated.

Livingston have started the season with one win, two draws and four defeats from their opening seven Premiership matches and sit second bottom ahead of Saturday’s visit to champions Celtic. 

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