Rangers part company with controversial midfielder Joey Barton after just eight games

Englishman had declared he would be the best player in Scotland upon his arrival in Glasgow

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 10:34am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 8:48pm

Rangers terminated Joey Barton’s contract on Thursday after the controversial midfielder’s troubled spell with the Scottish Premiership club.

Former Manchester City star Barton hasn’t played for Rangers since being exiled following a row with manager Mark Warburton and several teammates in the wake of a 5-1 thrashing against bitter rivals Celtic in September.

The 34-year-old was made to train with Rangers’ Under-20 team following the six-week suspension and was then signed off one day later due to “stress”.

“Rangers and Joey Barton have agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect,” Rangers said in a statement on Thursday.

Barton thanked Rangers fans for their backing but made no acknowledgement of Warburton or the Rangers squad.

“I’d like to thank the supporters of Rangers for their incredible support during my time at the club. Wish you all the best for the future,” he tweeted.

Barton, capped once by England, made eight appearances for Rangers after joining the Glasgow club on a two-year £20,000-per-week (HK$194,000) contract in the close-season following his release from Burnley.

End of the line? Scottish giants Rangers suspend bad boy Joey Barton for three weeks after Old Firm bust-up

He had played a key role in Burnley’s promotion to the Premier League last term, but was unable to replicate that level of performance in Scotland and quickly found himself in trouble for his sharp tongue.

Warburton had gathered his squad together two days after the Celtic loss for a training-ground inquest, but it turned ugly as Barton launched into an explosive rant that saw him trade insults with both the manager and teammate Andy Halliday.

The Rangers boss was furious when Barton refused to apologise for questioning his methods, specifically his criticism of Rangers’ defensive set-up, in front of the team.

Warburton decided a period of calm was required and told Barton to stay away from the training ground.

But the notoriously outspoken Barton, who claimed after his move to Rangers that he would prove himself the best player in Scotland, stoked Warburton’s fury further when he gave an unauthorised radio interview questioning his manager’s handling of the fall-out.

Barton is due to appear before the Scottish Football Association on November 17 to answer charges relating to alleged betting on matches.

Barton, who has also played for Newcastle and Marseille, is reported to have been offered the chance to train with English championship club Derby, whose manager Steve McClaren worked with the player at QPR.