Lennon: Very Disappointed At Stokes Ending
Hailed as Hibs marquee summer signing, the vast majority of the Easter Road faithful were delighted to see the Irishman return for a third spell at the club when it was confirmed he was signing back in August.
The 29 year old penned a 2 year deal and Stokes himself hoped to reignite a career which had once offered so much.
Having earned a move to then Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers on the back of a mercurial display in the Scottish Cup triumph of 2016 during his second stint in Leith, hopes were high Stokes could rediscover his best form under his former gaffer at Celtic, Neil Lennon.
During Lennon's tenure at Parkhead the forward produced consistently albeit in an outside left role rather than his favoured central but most were convinced he'd prove to be a huge asset on the Hibees return to the Scottish Premiership.
Unfortunately off field misdemeanours have cost the player with Stokes frequently falling foul of the manager's disciplinary standards.
Rumours of frequent bad timekeeping and missing training sessions were commonplace however disruptive behaviour at a Portuguese winter training camp which allegedly involved the setting off of a fire alarm system appears to have been the straw which broke the camel's back and ultimately forced Hibs to make a decision on the player's future.
Lennon and his management staff clearly decided enough was enough and the club confirmed his release from his contract on Transfer Deadline Day.
The Hibs gaffer spoke to BBC Scotland after the victory on Wednesday night and spoke of his dismay at how the Stokes saga played out: "I was very disappointed with the way things ended," Lennon told the Beeb.
"There`s only so many times you can push the envelope.
"I have to do what I think is best for Hibs, I have to do what I think is best for the supporters, the board and most importantly, that group of players in there who have done wonders for this club over the last couple of years.
"There is a line that I won`t tolerate, and Anthony had plenty of chances not to cross that line.
"We`ve been saying for years (that he`s a talented player), and it`s a shame, but I can`t keep rapping him on the knuckles and saying it`s all right."
Stokes position as a Hibs legend remains undoubted however there is still many Hibs fans wondering 'if only' following the end of his ill fated third term in Leith.