Ian Durrant: Rangers play better without Joey Barton

Joey Barton has not been missed by Rangers, according to Ian Durrant. Picture: John Devlin
Joey Barton has not been missed by Rangers, according to Ian Durrant. Picture: John Devlin
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Ian Durrant reckons Rangers are a stronger unit without Joey Barton and has questioned the controversial midfielder’s very public persona.

Barton is now in the fourth week of a club suspension, and a parting of ways seems inevitable.

The ban was a result of a training ground altercation with team-mate Andy Halliday in the wake of the 5-1 defeat by Celtic.

Barton has also been served with a notice of complaint by the SFA for allegedly breaching betting rules and has asked for more time to answer the charges.

Former Rangers midfielder Durrant would like to see a swift end to the Barton saga which has proven to be distracting for manager Mark Warburton.

Durrant, who was promoting a new photographic account of Rangers’ four years in the lower divisions, said: “It seems to be better without him. I’m not here to decry Joey Barton – he is a very good football player – but since Andy Halliday went into the same position, Rangers have looked a more solid unit.

“I think the fans can relate to Andy. I see the manager has stated he made a mistake by not playing him against Celtic. I think if Andy had been playing from the start at Parkhead it would have been a different result.

“Jason Holt was sadly missed earlier in the season and his return has been important. I’ve also loved watching the stuff Josh Windass has done when he’s played.

“I think that trio is a solid three. Niko Krancjar is getting fitter, so he’s got good options in there but Halliday seems to bring more solidity to the midfield.

“The manager and the club will do their bit on [Barton] in the fullness of time but it’s a distraction they don’t need. I’m sure everybody just wants it over and done with and what will happen will happen.”

Durrant, who was part of a boisterous group of players in his Ibrox heyday, said: “Joey would have been a bit of a character in our dressing room but it’s totally changed now. We didn’t have Twitter and Facebook.

“When we were in the dressing room and things were said, it stayed in the dressing room. If there were fisticuffs, it happened and the two of them shook hands and got on with it.

“Now people leave games and have everything at their disposal to talk about what’s going on. They can say things [on social media] and it’s a shame. If you are going to play a man’s game, be a man. Stand up to it.”

Durrant believes it will be next season before his old club are serious challengers to Celtic.

He said: “Rome wasn’t built in a day and Celtic have the financial clout.

“Hopefully Rangers can go and match them next year. This year, they have to stay on them as long as they can. Who knows what the results will be and Celtic could get pushed all the way in Europe and there could be a degree of tiredness.”