Hibs head coach Neil Lennon admits he expects to see a ‘very motivated’ Anthony Stokes in the coming weeks after revealing that indiscipline was part of the reason the striker missed last weekend’s draw at Hamilton.
Former Celtic player Stokes was struggling to be fit for the New Douglas Park clash due to a virus but Lennon admits an incident on the training ground made his mind up.
Lennon insists the 29-year-old, who has scored nine goals in 14 appearances this season, did not need to apologise for getting on the wrong side of him and has been happy with his application since.
Lennon, who has Stokes available for tomorrow’s trip to Partick Thistle ahead of a demanding run of matches against Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen, said: “It’s correct to say there was a disagreement in training and it influenced my decision over squad selection.
“We had a difference of opinion, it’s been dealt with and he’s back in the squad. It was an isolated incident. I felt I wasn’t going to tolerate it and he understands that.
“He’s accepted he was in the wrong and he’s getting on with it.
“He didn’t need to apologise. He just has to understand there are certain codes of conduct and a level of discipline you can’t cross with me.
“He knows that and it’s done now. He should have known that having worked with me but it’s not a major issue – we played really well at the weekend and it won’t affect the group long term.
“I made a decision that he wasn’t going to be part of the squad for last weekend. His attitude has been very good since he came.
“I think we’ll see a very motivated Anthony Stokes for the next few weeks.
“He’s been back in and trained very well this week and is in contention to start at the weekend.”
Given Stokes’ goal threat, Lennon is hoping the Republic of Ireland cap will excel during the festive period.
He added: “He’s been a bit in and out but he’s still got real quality and he needs to come and add that to the squad, particularly this month.
“He’s fit and raring to go.
“He’d only trained one day anyway last week and hadn’t trained much in the previous two weeks during the international week.
“He was a little bit undercooked. He played against St Johnstone but looked a bit off it and hadn’t trained much due to a bug so all that contributed to my decision as well.”