After an awful 18 months in his Celtic career, it seems that Anthony Stokes may finally be heading for the exit door with a move to Hibs seemingly done and dusted.
The Irish striker has been out of favour at Celtic Park ever since Ronny Deila took charge in the summer of 2014 and has only featured once this season, back in August during a 3-1 victory over Dundee United.
Since then, things have gone completely downhill for the 27-year-old, who had a public bust-up with his manager after sending a series of angry Tweets before the match against Inverness on November 29.
He later apologised to fans for his outburst was was suspended for two weeks by the club.
Fast forward to December and the former Arsenal and Sunderland man had split up with his childhood sweetheart – only weeks after she had given birth to their second child.
2015 was certainly a year that Stokes will want to forget and he has the chance to pick himself up and get back to the player he once was with several teams interested in securing a loan deal until the end of the season.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee United and Hibernian all made offers to take Stokes off Celtic’s hands and it seems it will be the latter who will secure his signature after Highland side Inverness admitted they had given up before United boss Mixu Paatelainen conceded that they didn’t have much hope of landing their man.
The forward was then seen taking in Hibernian’s game at Falkirk on Sunday afternoon after completing a medical and the move back to Edinburgh could really be just what the player needs.
Ask any player who has played for either side of the Old Firm and their description of Glasgow will follow down a similar path: it’s a goldfish bowl.
Living in a city where half of the population dislike you before you have even said a word must be difficult and a break from the dear green place is perfect for Stokes to sort out his career and personal life.
The striker has a reputation for enjoying a night out and rumours began circulating of Stokes’ growing reputation of being a lady’s man following his break-up.
On a footballing note, Hibs have been fantastic since they recovered from an early dip in form at the start of the season with star man Jason Cummings firing them to glory on many occasions, however, yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Falkirk showed that the 20-year-old can’t always do it on his own, missing several chances to grab the three points for his side.
Stokes, like Cummings, has proved he is most clinical with a partner, forming a lethal partnership with former Hoops favourite Gary Hooper where the pair scored a combined total of 129 goals during their three seasons together.
In his previous stint at Easter Road the striker bagged 22 goals in 40 appearances – including the fastest goal (12.4 seconds) in SPL history against Rangers – which led to his current club coughing up just under £1 million to bring him to the East End of Glasgow.
However, most importantly for Stokes is the Euros coming up this summer.
The Irish international has never been a regular for his country after, unsurprisingly, falling out with previous manager Giovanni Trapattoni when Stokes said he was ‘too tired’ to play for the national team.
Current boss Martin O’Neill has since took over and said that the door was still open for Stokes to make it to France in six months time after his suspension from Celtic in December – so this loan move to the Championship side must surely be the kick up the backside the forward needs.
It’s a very slim hope but sitting on the bench was never going to earn Stokes a place in O’Neills side for their games against Belgium, Italy and Sweden.
And as for Celtic? Well, they manage to shift some of the wage bill for a new forward and have the possible chance of getting a new and fresh Anthony Stokes back but the fans will have a completely different view on the striker’s move to the Championship.
What’s that, you ask? Well they’ll be hoping he scores enough goals to keep a certain team down there.
We’re talking about Falkirk, of course …