Will dislikeable Rangers signing Joey Barton turn neutrals in favour of Celtic?

Burnley's Joey Barton

Rangers will go into battle against Celtic next season with Joey Barton in tow.

Burnley's Joey BartonJoey Barton in action for Burnley

When there is an era of dominance in football or even sport in general, there are plenty of neutral and rival fans yearning to see it broken.

Celtic had just won five successive Scottish Premiership titles, but face a fresh challenge next season after Rangers won promotion back to the top flight.

The circumstances of their demotion in 2012 due to financial problems will remain a talking point for a long time and for that reason some fans may find it hard to get behind them, but there was a lot about them on the pitch last season to like.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton (R) and Hibernian manager Alan StubbsRangers manager Mark Warburton (R) and Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs

Mark Warburton is an impressive manager who performed wonders with English side Brentford, almost taking them into the Premier League.

He immediately made an impact on Rangers, with his side playing football which was easy on the eye, bringing in players with real quality like Harry Forrester.

His faith in youth was another big plus, with teenager Liam Burt brought into the squad, and 21-year-old Barrie McKay becoming a first team regular.

Rangers' Barrie McKay (R) in action with Livingston's Jackson LongridgeRangers' Barrie McKay (R) in action with Livingston's Jackson Longridge

He was also able to bring in young talents like Dominic Ball and Gedion Zelalem on loan, and further additions from England seem likely.

Yet the signing of Joey Barton threatens to turn neutrals against Rangers, due to the 33-year-old's divisive personality and reputation on and off the pitch.

Queens Park Rangers Joey Barton clashes with Manchester City's Vincent Kompany after kicking Sergio AgueroQueens Park Rangers Joey Barton clashes with Manchester City's Vincent Kompany after kicking Sergio Aguero

Barton is a player who has served time in jail for an altercation off the field, while on the pitch he has amassed a number of red cards including receiving a 12 game fan for losing it against Manchester City in 2012.

As much as he will claim to have turned over a new leaf and reinvent himself, he is always a flashpoint away from trouble due to the way he plays on the edge, and throwing him into an Old Firm derby is either genius or disastrous - but it will not be dull.

Whatever you thought of them before last season, Rangers had a likeability factor in 2015/16, and Barton's signing could alter this.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch