Stokes warned for attending IRA function
By Football News
Celtic boss Neil Lennon has confirmed the club have punished striker Anthony Stokes for attending a function for murdered IRA leader Alan Ryan.
The 24-year-old has been out of action since August and has found a return to the starting line-up a difficulty after regaining full fitness.
The striker's controversial attendance at a function in Dublin in September for Ryan has been met with a damning response by his coach, who said that his decision to attend damaged the club, which has strong religious and political links.
"We spoke to him internally," Lennon said.
"I am not going to moralise to him, but you cannot damage the reputation of the club. He is aware of that now. It has been dealt with internally. And he has taken it on board, absolutely."
Stokes enjoyed a successful start to his career at Celtic Park and scored 40 goals in his first two seasons following his 1.2-million-pound move from Hibernian in 2010 but has only made two appearances so far this season.
He has been warned about his future conduct by the chiefs at the Scottish champions.
Stokes is seeking a return to the field after an ankle injury and Lennon is also keen to get him back on the pitch.
"It is maybe make or break time for him in terms of football. He has been out for the best part of six months so he wants to get back playing," Lennon said.
"And we want him back playing because over the last two seasons he has been a very important player for us in terms of goals."