St James’ Park duo caught in club night before 4-0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
Newcastle United players Stephen Ireland and Leon Best have apologised for going to a nightclub on the eve of the the 4-0 thrashing by Stoke City.
The duo were photographed lifting up their shirts and showing off their tattoos.
The pair missed the game through injury with Leon Best sidelined with an ankle niggle, despite linking up with the Republic of Ireland squad yesterday.
Ireland has not played for the club since joining on-loan from Aston Villa in January due to a knee problem.
The players are awaiting punishment from the club but it is believed to be considered a minor issue, and made the apology to appease fuming fans.
“Although we had both been ruled out of the game at Stoke, we realise that going out to a bar was inappropriate ahead of Saturday’s game and we fully regret doing so,” read a statement on the club’s website.
“We were asked to have our photograph taken and we removed our shirts as a tongue-in-cheek joke between friends, but of course the resulting coverage in the press suggests a far different night out.
“Whilst our actions were wrong, neither of us had consumed alcohol and we were out for only a very short period of time.
“However, with the team having an important game at Stoke the following day, we should never have put ourselves or the club in that position.”