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Disciplinary concerns threaten Stokes deal

ANTHONY Stokes's Celtic future is at stake after disciplinary issues left the club uncertain about offering him a new contract.

The 24-year-old has displeased senior figures at the club – and, crucially, some of his fellow players – in relation to a number of off-field disciplinary matters.

The Irishman's current deal expires at the end of this season and Celtic will use the next three or four months to assess whether Stokes's behaviour has changed to the extent that he is worthy of a new offer.

The situation is not related to Stokes recently being told by manager Neil Lennon and chief executive Peter Lawwell that he had damaged the club's reputation by attending a memorial event in his home city of Dublin for murdered real IRA commander Alan Ryan.

Stokes was warned about his future conduct after that, but took that warning on board, and Celtic regard that as a matter which is now closed. However, other concerns remain about the striker's general discipline and professionalism.

The feeling within the club is that he has been given plenty of chances to show improved behaviour but will now have to conclusively do so if he is to be given a new deal in the summer.

Stokes was dropped from the squad for the final league match of the 2010-11 season after a breach of club discipline the night before, but has continued to give periodic cause for concern.

The player made only two appearances this season, both in August, before suffering an ankle injury. Lennon brought him to Celtic from Hibs in 2010 and he scored 20 goals or more in each of his first two seasons at Parkhead.

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