By Harvey Byrne

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell revealed on Tuesday that he received a phone call from an agent stating that Joey Barton would have preferred a move to the Hoops.

The 34-year-old midfielder moved to Ibrox this summer, agreeing a two-year deal after winning promotion to the Premier League with Burnley.

However, according to Lawwell an agent representing Barton tried to manufacture a last-minute transfer to Rangers’ fierce rivals.

“An agent called saying Joey was signing for Rangers but would really prefer Celtic,” said the Celtic chief, as quoted by the Scottish Sun official Twitter account.

The claims from Lawwell come after Barton revealed in his book that the Hoops tried to sign the midfielder days before he signed a contract at Ibrox.

The fiery midfielder received a three-week suspension from boss Mark Warburton on Monday following a bust-up with team-mate Andy Halliday after the Gers suffered a humiliating 5-1 loss against their rivals.

Celtic sit at the top of the Scottish Premiership table with four wins and one draw from their opening five matches, while Rangers sit lower in fifth place with two wins, three draws and one defeat in the early stages of the new season.

In other Celtic transfer news, Real Madrid and Barcelona sent representatives to the Old Firm derby to watch striker Moussa Dembele.