\"Hibernian

Hibernian player Anthony Stokes

Dublin player Anthony Stokes signs four-year deal with Celtic

\"Hibernian

Hibernian player Anthony Stokes

Hibernian player Anthony Stokes signed a reported £1.2m contract with Celtic on Wednesday after turning them down when he was a teenager.

Stokes, from Co. Dublin, was given the chance to play with Celtic when he was younger but he refused and, said Stokes, he is a more mature player now.

Back in January 2007, Stokes was pursed by then Sutherland manager Roy Keane to play with the premiership team.

Keane drove to Scotland to persuade the young Dubliner not to sign with Celtic and choose his team instead.

During his tenure at the Black Cats Stokes scored five goals in 38 games.

He was then loaded to Crystal Palace and Sheffield United but turned up the heat with a move to Scottish team Hibernian last year.

The 22-year-old is confident he is now in a better position to establish himself as a Celtic player.

"I look upon the move down south positively," he said.

"It was a good experience for me down there and hopefully I'm coming here a better player.

"I went to Sunderland and made a lot of mistakes. I'm glad I didn't do that here because I wouldn't have the opportunity that I have today. I was probably a bit immature then."

After a lackluster few years with the other teams Stoke said he is very grateful to Hibernian manager, John Hughes, for having confidence in him when he needed it.

"I knew I was going to have to start from the bottom again and build myself up," added Stokes, who is on Ireland U-21 international duty this week.

"I wasn't playing any games, even for the reserves. I was lucky a club like Hibs came in for me.

"I was sitting in Sunderland rotting away and as soon as Hibs came in for me, I knew it would be a good move.

"The gaffer (Hughes) kick-started my career when I went on loan -- I was only 17."

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