WATCH - This is embarrassing! Rangers press chief refuses to allow questions on Joey Barton
Joey Barton has asked for extra time to consider his Scottish Football Association charge of allegedly breaking strict betting rules, Press Association Sport understands.
The Rangers midfielder has been given until Wednesday to respond after he was charged with placing 44 bets on games between July 1 and September 15 this year.
But now he has requested an extension to that deadline after telling Hampden disciplinary chiefs he needs longer to look through the piles of paperwork detailing their case.
The request is expected to be considered by the Scottish FA's Judicial Panel on Thursday. SFA rules ban players from from betting on any football match, anywhere in the world.
Former Rangers players Ian Black and Steve Simonsen were both banned for betting on football in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Black was handed a 10-match ban for betting on games involving his own side and served three of them with the other seven suspended. Simonsen missed one game for putting money on other teams with another game suspended.
It is understood Barton did not bet on any games involving Rangers - although it has been reported he did place money on Celtic to lose heavily in their Champions League clash in Barcelona, a match the Hoops lost 7-0.
The former England midfielder was due to return to training earlier this week after serving a month-long club suspension after an angry bust-up with boss Mark Warburton and team-mate Andy Halliday.
But Rangers announced on Sunday they had told him to stay away from both Ibrox and their Auchenhowie training base for another seven days after launching a "formal disciplinary procedure".
If Rangers do not broker a peace deal or find grounds to sack him, they face having to pay off the former Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR battler's two-year contract which is worth £2million.
Warburton's weekly pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon was halted briefly by the club's after the manager was asked repeatedly about the Barton situation.
The Englishman would only say: "I'm not going to make comment on it, I haven't made comment on it. It's being dealt with by the powers that be at the club.
"When there's news it will come out, but until then there's no comment."