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Kyle Lafferty axed from Northern Ireland squad amid investigation over alleged ‘sectarian’ language

Kyle Lafferty was dropped from Northern Ireland’s squad for this month’s Nations League games amid Kilmarnock’s investigation into the former Rangers striker’s alleged ‘sectarian’ language after viral video captures him calling Celtic fan a ‘F****nb* ****d’

  • Kyle Lafferty will not play for Northern Ireland against Kosovo and Greece
  • The striker is under investigation by his club Kilmarnock after a video of him using sectarian language emerged online
  • The Scottish club said they find “any form of discriminatory behavior completely unacceptable”
  • Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough did not rule out Lafferty adding to his 89 caps in the future
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Kyle Lafferty has been dropped from the Northern Ireland squad after a video of him using sectarian language emerged on social media.

When a Celtic fan posing with Lafferty in the video shouts ‘up the Celts’ into the camera, former Rangers striker Lafferty responds by calling him a ‘fenian b*****d’.

Lafferty’s current club Kilmarnock have launched an investigation and Northern Ireland announced he has been withdrawn from their squad for the Nations League games against Kosovo in Belfast (today) and Greece in Athens on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old, who has battled a back injury, now faces an uncertain international future, but manager Ian Baraclough insisted the door is still open for Northern Ireland’s second-highest scorer.

“It’s not necessarily the end,” Baraclough said. ‘A leader’s role includes being a father figure and someone they can turn to. That relationship will still be there.

“It’s clearly something we’d rather not talk about. The team is aware of the situation. Kyle is a popular figure in the group and everyone will rally around him.

‘There has been a lot of work across society from the IFA and it is so important for this country going forward.

Kyle Lafferty has been dropped from Northern Ireland's squad for their Nations League games
Kyle Lafferty has been dropped from Northern Ireland's squad for their Nations League games

Kyle Lafferty has been dropped from Northern Ireland’s squad for their Nations League games

“Even though I didn’t grow up here, I’ve lived with what happened through The Troubles and how society deals with what happened. It is a stronger, more together, nation.’

Northern Ireland have never won a Nations League game in 14 attempts and risk dropping into pool five of the Euro 2024 qualifying draw if the next two results go against them.

Lafferty’s 20 goals for Northern Ireland make him the second-highest scoring men’s player in the nation’s history behind David Healy.

The 35-year-old spent two separate spells at Rangers earlier in his career and in 2011 faced sectarian abuse after having his car window smashed at a petrol station near Glasgow.

Lafferty (left) was heard using sectarian language while being filmed by a football fan
Lafferty (left) was heard using sectarian language while being filmed by a football fan
The video, which has been circulating on social media, shows Lafferty reacting to a fan who was heard saying 'Up the Celts' as they posed for a picture together
The video, which has been circulating on social media, shows Lafferty reacting to a fan who was heard saying 'Up the Celts' as they posed for a picture together

Lafferty (left) was heard using sectarian language while being filmed by a football fan

The striker suffered sectarian abuse during his first spell at Glasgow Rangers in 2011
The striker suffered sectarian abuse during his first spell at Glasgow Rangers in 2011

The striker suffered sectarian abuse during his first spell at Glasgow Rangers in 2011

He joined Kilmarnock from Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta in January and the Scottish Premiership club released a statement on Thursday after the video of Lafferty began circulating online.

“Kilmarnock Football Club are aware of a video circulating online which appears to show a member of our players using language of a sectarian nature.

‘The club finds all forms of discriminatory behavior completely unacceptable. The matter will be investigated by the club.’

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