Joey Barton applauds fans as he is substituted
Burnley ace Scott Arfield has told the Daily Mail that it was Rangers who were to blame for Joey Barton's premature Ibrox departure.
The Gers were looking for a marquee summer signing following their promotion back to the top flight of Scottish football, and they moved to land Barton on a free transfer.
Initially seen as the man to drive Mark Warburton's men forward and closer to Celtic, Barton made just eight appearances for Rangers before being suspended for a training ground bust-up with Warburton and team-mate Andy Halliday following the 5-1 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic in September – and he never played for the club again.
Barton was released from his contract in November, and has since re-signed for Burnley, where he has been impressing under Sean Dyche in the Premier League at the age of 34, making a mockery of his time at Ibrox.
Barton's current Burnley deal expires at the end of the season, but with Dyche's men set to survive in the Premier League, he could earn another deal – just months after being on the scrapheap following his Rangers exit.
Now, Burnley team-mate and former Falkirk ace Scott Arfield has told the Daily Mail that Rangers created the problems with Barton rather than the other way around, blaming the Gers – and their players – for his acrimonious departure, suggesting that they couldn't handle him.
Burnley's Scott Arfield in action with Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny
Arfield added that Barton has been impressive since making a 'seamless' return to Turf Moor, noting that he's a 'massive character', but also a leader and a winner, hence his outburst after that defeat to Celtic.
“Joey has come back to us and it has been seamless,” said Arfield. “I honestly think it was Rangers who created the problem. They didn't use him properly and that was the downfall. Joey's a massive character, a leader and a winner. Yeah, he can rattle a few cages. But those are the guys who can also inspire a full dressing room.”
“It seems to me like the Rangers players just couldn't hack him or didn't want to hear some home truths. Getting hammered 5-1 against your biggest rivals, it was never going to be rosy when they went into training on the Monday morning. It speaks volumes for Joey – and reflects really badly on Rangers – that he has come back down here and has started winning man-of-the-match awards straight away,” he added.
Do you think Rangers were to blame for Barton's exit?