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Saturday 16 December 2017

Joey Barton on the brink at Rangers after his radio rants

Joey Barton has continued to undermine his position at Rangers by commenting on his exclusion from training CREDIT: PA
Joey Barton has continued to undermine his position at Rangers by commenting on his exclusion from training CREDIT: PA

Roddy Forsyth

Whatever Joey Barton says when he meets Mark Warburton on Monday to discuss his future at Rangers, the midfielder has undermined his position at Ibrox by continuing to issue statements on radio and on social media, The Telegraph understands.

Although Rangers have not used the word, they have effectively suspended Barton, who has not been at the Murray Park training ground since he was embroiled in an altercation there on Tuesday with fellow midfielder Andy Halliday.

The club has observed standard procedures of employment law by making no comment on the matter, in contrast to Barton’s comment on Talksport that “the way it’s been handled is strange”.

Barton added: “When you look at my history and you’re told to stay away from the club, it does look like something more has happened, and that’s why I’ve decided to get on the radio and speak, because it’s wrong.”

There are certainly those within Rangers who believe that if Barton had played as effectively as he has generated headlines, the team would be better placed in the table as they go into their home meeting with Ross County on Saturday.

The 34-year-old declared when he signed on May 24 that he had moved north “to be the best player in Scotland”.

He also trolled the Celtic captain, Scott Brown, online and taunted the Hoops manager, Brendan Rodgers, with the accusation that the Northern Irishman was in the throes of “a midlife crisis”.

However, his showings in the Scottish Premiership – particularly in last week’s 5-1 demolition by Celtic – have fallen short of his claim to top billing.

In his Talksport interview, Barton admitted that he had yet to make an impact in Scotland but added: “You’re only as good as your team-mates, so if I am to improve they have to improve.”

Or to put it in Barton-ese, he is understood to have told his team-mates that in last season’s successful promotion campaign, they had been beating “s--- teams in a s--- league …”

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