Hughes explains Stokes exit
Hibernian boss John Hughes has revealed Anthony Stokes was sold to Celtic to achieve a boyhood dream.
Last Updated: 08/09/10 9:55am
Hibernian manager John Hughes has revealed striker Anthony Stokes was allowed to join Celtic to achieve a lifelong ambition.
Stokes, 22, left Easter Road for the Old Firm club on transfer deadline day in a £1.2million move after an impressive campaign for Hibs last season.
The former Arsenal and Sunderland frontman plundered 23 goals in his debut season, firing his side to a fourth-placed finish in the SPL.
Stokes began this campaign at Hibs and opened is account in the season-opener against Motherwell, before his final appearance came in the 1-0 loss to St Mirren.
Hughes was desperate to keep hold of the Republic of Ireland international, but admits once Neil Lennon showed an interest in him it was impossible to keep him at the club.
"Anthony Stokes expressed a real desire to sign for Celtic," Hughes told the Daily Record.
"He is a Dublin-born Irish boy who supported the club all of his life. He told me that is where his heart lay.
"His performance against St Mirren told me his heart and mind was elsewhere. That is not a criticism of Stokesy. I wanted him to go out of this club with a bang but it was not to be.
"For what he did for me and this club and scoring a lot of goals, he goes with our best wishes."