Championship side Hibernian confirmed the signing of Republic of Ireland International, Anthony Stokes, 27, on a 6-month loan deal until the end of the 2015/2016 season.
Hibernian Coach Alan Stubbs with new signing, Stokes (Right)
The Celtic Forward was expected to be offloaded in the summer, and, after courting interest from clubs in England, and agreeing to terms with Scottish Premiership sides Inverness and Dundee United, Stokes chose to return to the side which saw him score 24 goals in 48 appearances back in 2010 – launching his departure to Celtic.
Stokes with his trademark goal-scoring celebration for Celtic at Parkhead.
Six years on, The Striker received a rousing reception at Home to St Mirren on the weekend, coming of the bench in the 73rd Minute at Easter Road. Stokes scored in the 90th minute to make it a comfortable 3-1 win for Hibs in Edinburgh.
Stoke’s signing will be a huge relief to coach Alan Stubbs, who is fending off the wolves trying to sign Hibs’ young-Scotsman Jason Cummings, 20, during the January transfer window.
Jason Cummings celebrates his opening goal against Rangers at Ibrox.
Cummings; having already scored a total of 16 goals in all competitions for Hibs this season, has largely carried the squads goal threat going forward. Just 5-less goals than in his previous tally the previous season (21 goals), where the club finished second to Hearts, & above Rangers.
This season however, Rangers are expected to clinch automatic promotion by finishing first. Hibernian and the outsiders, Falkirk, are 5 & 7 points of the pace respectively and are in shooting distance of Rangers from Glasgow.
Rangers know all too well the traffic of finishing in the play-offs, succumbing to Hearts in lasts years Title race. Rangers’, who battled Hibs for the right to enter a two-legged tie with the Second last Premiership side last season, were thwacked by an inspired Motherwell side, thwarting Rangers return to re-join Celtic at the top.
Hibs currently sit-second in The Scottish Championship, and if Stokes is fit and firing in Leith, Mark Warburton’s side just might start to get spaghetti legs towards seasons end.
Automatic promotion will be close for both teams. But, with Hibernian’s favorite son back on the team-sheet, Hibs’ 6-month Stokes deal could prove to be a game-changer for The Scottish Championship title race. And indeed, promotion to the top-tier of Scotland – The Scottish Premiership.