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

Kyle Lafferty sacked from Northern Ireland’s squad for this month’s Nations League games amid Kilmarnock’s investigation into the ex-Rangers striker’s alleged ‘sectarian’ language after viral video shows him a Celtic fan ‘F****nb*****d’ mentions

  • Kyle Lafferty does not play for Northern Ireland against Kosovo and Greece
  • The striker is under investigation by his club Kilmarnock after a video of him appeared online in sectarian language
  • The Scottish club said it found “all forms 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 kicked out of the Northern Ireland squad after a video of him appeared on social media in sectarian language.

When a Celtic fan posing with Lafferty in the video yells “up the Kelts” into the camera, former Rangers striker Lafferty responds by calling him a “Fenian b*****d.”

Lafferty’s current club Kilmarnock has launched an investigation and Northern Ireland has announced it has been withdrawn from their squad for the Nations League games against Kosovo in Belfast (today) and Greece in Athens on Tuesday.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 been battling a back injury anyway, 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. “The role of a manager is to be a father figure and someone to turn to. That relationship will still be there.

“Obviously it’s something we’d rather not talk about. The team is aware of the situation. Kyle is a popular figure within the group and everyone will gather around him.

“There has been a lot of cross-community work done by the IFA and that is so important for the future of this country.

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

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

“Although I didn’t grow up here, I’ve lived with what happened because of The Troubles and how society is dealing with what happened. It’s a stronger, more together, nation.’

Northern Ireland has never won a Nations League match in 14 attempts and is at risk of falling into pot five for the Euro 2024 qualifier if the next two results fail.

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

The 35-year-old spent two separate spells with Rangers earlier in his career and in 2011, he was subjected to sectarian abuse after his car window was smashed at a petrol station near Glasgow.

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

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

1663857800 346 Kyle Lafferty under investigation by Kilmarnock over alleged sectarian language

1663857800 346 Kyle Lafferty under investigation by Kilmarnock over alleged sectarian language

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

The striker was the victim of sectarian abuse during his first stint with Glasgow Rangers in 2011.

The striker was the victim of sectarian abuse during his first stint with Glasgow Rangers in 2011.

The striker was the victim of sectarian abuse during his first stint with Glasgow Rangers in 2011.

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

Kilmarnock Football Club is aware of a video circulating online which appears to show a member of our playing staff using language of a sectarian nature.

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