Joey Barton says Celtic big favourites next year

Burnley's Joey Barton celebrates promotion

Ibrox side Rangers are still big underdogs to challenge Celtic, says Joey Barton.

Burnley's Joey Barton talks to Alastair Campbell before the parade

Speaking to The Telegraph, Rangers new boy Joey Barton has acknowledged that Celtic boast some "great players" in their ranks, but warned his new Old Firm rivals that they will need to step their game up next term.

The 33-year-old signed a two-year deal with Rangers this week in what is a big statement of intent from the Gers, who previously lured 19-year-old midfielder Jordan Rossiter from Liverpool a couple of weeks ago as they look to stock up for their Scottish Premiership return.

It will be Rangers first season back in the big time since 2012, in which time Celtic have dominated the top-flight, winning five successive Premiership titles with little resistance from their so-called rivals, though Aberdeen did, at one stage in recent months, look capable of pulling off a huge upset.

Burnley's Joey Barton celebrates promotion to the premier league

With Rangers returning, Celtic can hardly be accused of resting on their laurels, though, after appointing former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who two years ago came within a point of leading the Reds to the Premier League crown.

Although Barton says the Hoops must be wary of their bitter Glasgow neighbours, the former Newcastle United midfielder was keen to point out that all the pressure is still on Rodgers and co ahead of next season.

Celtic - Brendan Rodgers Press Conference

“They have got some great players there and they have got a manager who has come from a big club in England," the Rangers man told The Telegraph. "The reality is that the pressure is on them - they have to win the league.

“Now they have got to move it up a gear because they have been able to have it all their own way with a bit of ease."

Rangers manager Mark Warburton celebrates winning the Scottish Championship with the trophy

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