Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Celtic boss Neil Lennon shrugs off latest Anthony Stokes uproar

Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon believes the latest off-field controversy to surround Celtic striker Anthony Stokes is "not a major deal".

The Dubliner will have to explain the photograph – which emerged last week in a newspaper of him singing in a bar on the Falls Road, Belfast – to the Parkhead club.

The former Sunderland and Hibernian player was warned by Celtic in December 2012 when he attended a memorial event for murdered Real IRA member Alan Ryan.

Celtic, along with the Police and the Scottish FA, are currently investigating Stokes' fellow striker Leigh Griffiths, for allegedly joining Hibs fans, of which he is one, in singing a song calling former Hearts player Rudi Skacel "a refugee" in a pub before the Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle in March.

Ahead of the trip to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone tonight, the Hoops boss backed both players.

He said: "I have not spoken to Anthony, he is going to speak with the club about it and I will be guided by what they think is best.

"It is not a major deal for me.

"Sometimes I think these stories are blown way out of proportion. They are not bad boys and people try to make them out to be something that they are not.

"They are a bit loose sometimes but I like that in their personalities, as long as we can channel it in the right directions.

"I will wait and see what the police investigation brings for Leigh."

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