CELTIC striker Anthony Stokes has revealed how death threats made against him have caused him to consider his future in the sport.
The Dubliner’s time at Parkhead has been riddled with off-field issues, such as being linked in court with a plot to murder renowned loyalist Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair and being spotted at the funeral of Real IRA member Alan Ryan.
Stokes, who is due in court next year over the alleged assault of an Elvis Presley impersonator, admits his five-year spell at Celtic has been turbulent and, at times, he has considered walking away from the limelight his position brings.
“There was a stage where I got four or five threats that I felt I had no option but to speak to the club’s security guys, who reported it to the police,” he said in an interview with Scottish weekly paper The Sunday Post.
“An anonymous Twitter account was set up and sent me messages saying I was going to be shot dead as soon as I got back to Dublin.
“They came in over a period of 10-15 minutes and there was something in it that revealed personal knowledge. That was the worst. I don’t know what was behind it.
“Whatever, it wasn’t just an idiot with a keyboard. There’s nothing really I can do but try and get on with it. I’m certainly not going to accept it.
“People react to what they think is the truth and what they think they know about me. I’ve never gone out to offend anyone and I don’t think I’ve been controversial.
“To a certain extent I guess I am prepared to deal with it but when my girlfriend and kids get dragged into it you always worry they get targeted.
“It definitely got to the point when I thought to myself ‘enough is enough’. There will be those out there who will say I have brought this on myself but I don’t believe that for a minute.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about those around me, my girlfriend, my two young sons – they are the ones who suffer the most.
“There have been stages where it’s got dangerous and I’ve had to consider if it’s really worth it.”