Ronny Deila: Anthony Stokes’s suspension ‘not about single incident’

Celtic boss admits Inverness tweet was tipping point for Ireland striker

Anthony Stokes has been suspended for two weeks by Celtic. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Anthony Stokes has been suspended for two weeks by Celtic. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

 

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes was suspended for a number of incidents and not just his Twitter outburst, manager Ronny Deila has revealed.

The Republic of Ireland international was given a two-week suspension by the club after venting his frustration at being omitted from the squad to face Inverness on Sunday after travelling to the Highlands.

The Dubliner later apologised for his sarcastic comment: “Buzzing to be brought all the way up to inverness with the team to sit in the stands today, lovely weather for it too.”

But it proved a tipping point for Deila, who disciplined the player last season after he returned late from a trip to Ireland. Stokes also faces trial next year for an alleged assault on an Elvis impersonator in Dublin, over an incident which preceded Deila’s reign.

“I think everybody understands it’s not about that single incident,” the Norwegian said ahead of the visit of Hamilton. “There have been some issues in the past and now we felt we had to put down a marker.

“I think that’s going to be good in the end for us and Anthony as well. After 14 days he will come back and hopefully we can keep him working.

“I wouldn’t go into the different issues, that’s between me and him and the club.”

Deila denied that Stokes had been treated more harshly than Kris Commons, who started the next game after a dugout rant following his substitution in Molde, stressing that the Irishman had been given warnings in the past.

Second Captains

“I would never suspend a player because of that comment, but it was too much,” he said.

Stokes, who has 18 months left on his contract, has only made two appearances this season but Deila insists he can still be part of the first team at Parkhead.

“He has a future,” Deila said. “Of course there are things that need to improve. If he makes the improvement that we want, everything is possible.

“If he didn’t have any ability, he wouldn’t be here. He’s a goalscorer and a great player.

“Everybody at this club gets a lot of chances but we need to see improvement in different aspects and if they don’t do that individually then we need to use different things to get through to them.”

When asked whether he would look to sell the player in January, Deila said: “That’s a question that is stupid to answer. Every player in this club is in the same situation. He has a contract and he has talent and we want to get the best out of that talent.”

Deila has issued social media guidelines to his players to make sure they are not negative towards the team, club or others, but he accepts that players will become frustrated at not playing.

“It’s obviously something you want to avoid but there are a lot of good football players who want to play and things will happen when you have ambitious people,” he said. “So it’s nothing new. But we have to sometimes put a mark on what is accepted and what’s not accepted.

“I feel I have complete respect from all the players. If there aren’t any issues then it’s a group that doesn’t care and that’s the worst thing. These players care, they want to achieve things.”

One player who is pleasing Deila with his attitude is Scott Allan, who could make his first start since his move from Hibernian on Saturday – if the Celtic Park pitch passes an inspection ahead of the Premiership clash with Hamilton.

“I think he is ready,” said Deila, who also revealed that Charlie Mulgrew faces another six to eight weeks out with his recurring thigh injury.

“He has been very, very good from day one. It’s always tough to come from a Championship club to the best team in Scotland. It takes time to adapt. He has been unbelievably patient and works hard every day. He tries to learn and understand things.

“In the last few games he has come on and made a difference.”

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