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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
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Lawrence set to stay put

Stoke midfielder Liam Lawrence says he is no longer interested in joining Celtic after the prospective move "dragged on" too long.

Lawrence, 29, was expected to move to Parkhead as Neil Lennon looks to assemble a team capable of reclaiming the SPL title, and the impending sale of Aiden McGeady was due to provide the money required to fund a bid.

However, the Republic of Ireland international says that, while he has been eager to join Celtic, he now feels he owes it to Stoke to stay put.

"The idea of a move to Celtic was really appealing at the end of last season," he told the Scottish Sun. "It has gone on for so long now and they have bought a lot of players.

"Clearly, they've had plenty of opportunity to come and get me but for whatever reason it hasn't happened. Stoke have been brilliant with me, stating they were prepared to give me the chance of a move if the conditions were right.

"I really wanted the opportunity to play for Celtic. If they had come in for me I would've been happy to go. With things dragging on, it has given me time to reconsider everything.

"I have had a brilliant pre-season with Stoke, I've really enjoyed it, and now I feel I've got to be fair with them. I feel the best thing for me now is to stay and try to play in the Premier League."

He added: "Of course it's a big disappointment when a huge club like Celtic comes in for you and it looks like an exciting opportunity - but nothing materialises. Maybe it wouldn't have been the right opportunity. Now I'm just focusing on the new season with Stoke."

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