By Will Butcher
Mark Warburton has stood by his decision to sign Joey Barton for Rangers this summer, despite a number of off-the-field incidents.
Barton began life in Glasgow in dismal fashion, both on and off the pitch. The 34-year-old is currently suspended from Ibrox and training ground Auchenhowie, after a training ground bust up with midfield teammate Andy Halliday.
Former Brentford boss Warburton revealed that the signing of Barton was a coup for the Gers after he decided to cut short his stay at Premier League newboys Burnley.
“Absolutely. The experience, the quality was there for all to see,” Warburton told BT Sport. “I think everyone in football was both surprised and excited by that signing so I absolutely stand by that.
“I’ve got no problem with opinion. The key aspect for me is how you deliver that. As I say have your opinion, speak your mind. I welcome that, I want communication.”
The midfielder will remain suspended from the 54-time Scottish champions after holding talks with the club board on Thursday.
A poor bout of form has seen Barton fail to impress for Mark Warburton’s side, after being overpowered by Scott Brown in the 5-1 loss to Old Firm rivals Celtic among other performances.
Barton is also under investigation from the Scottish Football Association after being charged with 44 counts of betting on football during his time at Rangers.
Barton is no stranger to controversy after receiving the Premier League’s second largest ban of 12 matches following his actions after a red card against Manchester City, as well as serving jail time during his Newcastle days.
On the pitch, the Gers are looking to secure three points against Kilmarnock on Saturday as they look to close the gap on league leaders Celtic.
In other Rangers news, Warburton has responded to criticism aimed at his Gers side.