By Joe McHugh
John Hartson believes that Anthony Stokes left Celtic with a heavy heart.
The 27-year-old completed a loan deal to Hibs this morning knowing that it's unlikely that he will ever play again for Celtic.
Only a change of manager could earn Stokes a reprieve but with Ronny Deila spending €2m on Danish defender Eric Sviatchenko it seems that the Norwegian retains the backing of the Celtic board.
Celtic accepted offers from Inverness Caley Thistle and Dundee United to take Stokes on loan but once a deal was agreed with Hibs the player decided to pack his boots and head back to Edinburgh.
“The best thing for all concerned is that Stoksey packs his bags and moves on,” Hartson stated in the Scottish Sun.
“His move to Hibs is an initial loan deal so who knows how things will transpire for next season but there’s a good player in there waiting to get out.
“It’s just a shame that the lad isn’t going to be able to show that again in a Celtic shirt.
“I suppose he could come back to Celtic and kick-start his career there. He is only still 27 after all but the likelihood is that his time at the club is now a thing of the past. Knowing him as I do, I reckon that’ll tear him apart and leave him utterly devastated.
“This is a boy who grew up supporting Celtic, an Irish Catholic who the supporters love to bits. Those punters see someone they can identify with because they adore everything he stands for so I can guarantee Stokesy will be hurting now he’s gone.
“The time is right now for him, though, because he was wasting away training with the kids at Lennoxtown. Frustration must have set in a long time ago because I can only imagine how I’d have felt.
“That’s what the infamous Inverness Tweet stemmed from, sheer frustration and anger at his situation.
“Don’t get me wrong, it was totally wrong of him to send out the message and I’m sure he regretted it within a nanosecond but he apologised within days and for me that should have been the end of it.”
Central defender Sviatchenko signed a four-and-a-half year deal from Midtjylland but won't be in the squad to play Hamilton Accies tonight.