CELTIC manager Ronny Deila has confirmed Anthony Stokes was dropped from his squad on Thursday night for disciplinary reasons.
Deila did not specify the reason for Stokes’ omission from the Europa League tie against Inter Milan but it is understood the forward angered him by returning from a weekend trip to Dublin 24 hours later than permitted. After being involved in Celtic’s Premiership win against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park last Saturday, Stokes was scheduled to return to training on Monday but it is believed he did not report back until Tuesday.
“It was an internal thing and we dealt with it,” said Deila. “It was a small thing, but it was something. We also have a big squad and there is competition for places.”
Stokes has been a regular for Celtic under Deila this season, scoring eight times in 31 appearances. Asked if the 26-year-old Republic of Ireland international would be back in his squad for tomorrow’s Premiership fixture against Hamilton Accies at Celtic Park, Deila was non-committal.
“We will see,” replied Deila. “If he is good enough, he will be. But there is no more punishment to that.”
It is not the first time Stokes has landed himself in trouble with Celtic over a trip back to his home city of Dublin.
In December 2012, he was disciplined by the club when he was photographed attending a memorial event in a Dublin pub for murdered Real IRA gang leader Alan Ryan.
The then Celtic manager Neil Lennon publicly reprimanded Stokes, claiming he had “damaged the reputation of the club”. Stokes also faces a court date in May this year when he will stand trial for an alleged assault of an Elvis Presley impersonator at Buck Whaley’s nightclub in Dublin in June 2013.
At the time, Stokes’ future at Celtic appeared uncertain but in October 2013 he agreed a new contract with the club which runs until 2017.
He was linked with a possible move to Cardiff City during last month’s transfer window but Deila made it clear he wanted him to stay.
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