Lennon backs singer Stokes

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

Lennon backs singer Stokes

The Dubliner will have to explain the photograph of him singing in a bar in the Falls Road, Belfast to the Parkhead club at some point.

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 St Johnstone tonight (7.45pm), the Hoops boss backed both players.

He said: “I have not spoken to Anthony, he is going to speak with the club today 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.”

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