Rangers have suspended Joey Barton for three weeks after claiming “time and space” is required following his much-publicised row with a team-mate in the aftermath of their 5-1 thrashing by Celtic.
Barton and team-mate Andy Halliday traded verbal insults in a debrief session after the September 10 defeat at Celtic Park, with manager Mark Warburton also reportedly involved.
The former Newcastle United and QPR midfielder subsequently issued an apology but was nevertheless banished from the club for a week and called to Ibrox on Monday morning to hear if further action was to be taken.
A Rangers statement confirmed he had been told to stay away for an extended period.
It read: “Joey Barton has today been suspended by the club and will not return to Ibrox or Auchenhowie for a period of three weeks.
“The manager, Mark Warburton, and club believe that time and space is required for both the club and the player to assess all that has happened.
“Neither party will make any further statement or comment on this issue.”
Barton, 34, joined the Glasgow club in the close season after his contract at Burnley expired with cynics predicting his outspoken nature would eventually land him in trouble.
That scenario has come to pass after just eight appearances for the club.
Barton attempted to clarify exactly what happened with Halliday and Warburton in a radio interview last week, telling talkSPORT: “The manager pulled me in afterwards and asked me to explain what I’d said and I’d told him in no certain terms where I believed it to be at.
“So he’s saying I need to go away and think things through. Whilst I didn’t agree with that, he’s the manager of the football club and I have to accept that.
“But the way it’s been handled is strange. When you look at my history and you’re told to stay away from the club, it does look like something more has happened, and that’s why I’ve decided to get on the radio and speak.”
Asked if he had said sorry to Warburton, Barton continued: “I don’t believe I’ve done anything to apologise for.
“It’s the tone of language I’ve used [that was the problem]. Maybe I don’t communicate like somebody who has been educated at Eton, but that’s not me, I’m from Liverpool. I communicate how I communicate and I want to win football matches.
“Maybe I could communicate better and I accept that, but the message doesn’t change. It’s not the wrong message I’m communicating, and it’s unfair for anybody to say that is the case.
“It’s disappointing but I’m as committed to Glasgow Rangers as the day I signed. There’s nothing at all that has altered me from that task.
“We are asked for an opinion and I’m someone who gives an opinion. Two passionate Rangers players have then shared opinions on how we get better and what’s going wrong – it’s nothing more and nothing less than that.
“There is absolutely no issue with me and Andy. There was no anger. We sat down in the dressing room afterwards and spoke through what was said. It’s disappointing that certain people are trying to insinuate that there is, because it’s completely false.”
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