By Will Butcher
Rangers star Joey Barton has described the trial of former teammate Ched Evans a “shambles.”
Evans, who played for Manchester City with Barton earlier in his career, was convicted of rape in 2012 and was slapped with a five-year jail sentence.
After two-and-a-half years behind bars, his conviction was quashed. On Friday, Evans won his battle to clear his name from the charges entirely at Cardiff Crown Court after being found not guilty.
However, former teammate Barton believes that Evans will still be haunted by the reputation that has surrounded him since the ordeal began in 2012.
Posting on his personal Twitter account, Barton asked how Evans could ever get “his reputation and his career back”, after spending five years to be proven innocent.
Ched Evans found not guilty but how does he get his reputation and his career back? Shambles.
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) October 14, 2016
A 12-person jury took just two hours to come to a decision, clearing Evans after a two-week trial despite the former Norwich City loanee being originally jailed.
Evans, 27, has since signed for League One outfit Chesterfield following his release from prison and has made eight appearances, scoring an impressive four goals in all competitions.
Both players are no strangers to controversy, with Barton currently being suspended from Ibrox and Rangers training ground, Auchenhowie.
The two played together for Man City, as Evans progressed through the youth academy during Barton’s time in Manchester before the one-time England international opted to move to Newcastle in 2007.
Evans moved to Sheffield United in 2009 and was fairly prolific, scoring 48 goals in 113 league and cup encounters. The 13-time Wales international is now able to focus on his playing career.
In other Rangers news, this summer signing has had this to say ahead of Saturday’s clash against Inverness.