Glasgow Rangers new boy Joey Barton has pilled the pressure on Celtic with his comments to the Daily Mail, by suggesting that all the pressure is on Brendan Rodgers’ men.
Rangers will take on Celtic again next term, and they will look to end their city rival’s dominance of Scottish football during their time in the lower divisions.
Celtic have won the Scottish Premiership for the last five seasons, but Barton feels that the rising expectations levels at Parkhead could stand against the Bhoys.
Barton believes that Rangers can go into the campaign knowing that they are not under pressure, and he wants the Ibrox side to thrive with their underdog status.
“If Celtic finish second next year, that is a bad season for them,” Barton said.
“If Rangers go into the league and finish second – not that we want to, by the way – that will be seen as progress.
“So the pressure is all on Celtic. Every bit of pressure is on them. They have to win the league, they have to get to the group stages of the Champions League.
“We don’t have that same external pressure. Internally, that’s where we will be trying to get to. It’s the nature of a club the size of Rangers.
“I’m not going there to finish second. I’m not going there to play second fiddle to anyone up there.”
Barton’s arrival at Ibrox has created excitement around Rangers, as he is expected to provide added steel to their midfield ranks.
Barton has wasted no time in aggravating Celtic supporters since moving to Rangers, and these comments follow some disparaging remarks the midfielder made about Scott Brown.
Barton claimed that he was leagues apart from Celtic captain Brown, when interviewed by TalkSPORT at the weekend.
Barton is Rangers’ fourth signing of the summer transfer window so far, following on from the arrivals of Matt Crooks, Josh Windass and Jordan Rossiter.