JOEY Barton has dismissed talk of rivalry between him and Celtic midfielder Scott Brown – by saying he isn’t good enough to compete; Neil Lennon praises Hibernian as one of Scotland’s top five teams; Charlie Adam hits out at “contradictory” Scotland manager Gordon Strachan; plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Joey Barton: Scott Brown nowhere near my level
Rangers signing Joey Barton has already started stoking the fires ahead of his Old Firm baptism after telling Celtic rival Scott Brown he is the superior player.
The outspoken former England midfielder has already claimed his aim next season is to make himself the best player in Scotland and he went further while guesting on Talksport’s breakfast show with Alan Brazil. Asked if he will be a marked man in Scotland, the 33-year-old said: “Of course, that’s the nature of being me. It comes with the territory.
“But without being disrespectful to the players up there, people keep talking about Joey Barton v Scott Brown. He’s not even in my league – he’s nowhere near the level of player I am.” (Scotland on Sunday)
Neil Lennon: Hibs one of the top five teams in Scotland
Neil Lennon has said his new side Hibernian are one of the top five teams in Scotland – and would have gladly chosen the Scottish Championship side over other teams in the top flight.
“I like the fact that Hibs are a big-city club, a capital one actually. I know the history and culture of the club. We’re not going from A to B, we’re trying to take them from B to A. It’s going to be tough. It won’t be pretty at times. There will be games we’ll have to scratch and we’ll have to do it a bit better than we did at times last year. I consider them one of the top five clubs in Scotland. I wouldn’t have gone below that. There are Premiership clubs who aren’t as big as Hibs. That wouldn’t have appealed to me.” (Scotland on Sunday)
Charlie Adam baffled by Gordon Strachan methods
Gordon Strachan has been accused of having double standards when it comes to the qualities he looks for in his players. Charlie Adam, who has effectively been frozen out of the Scotland set-up, pointed to Strachan’s criticism of his team’s “unlucky passers”.
“I don’t understand it,” he said. “It’s contradictory. You can’t say you want players who want to pass the ball, keep the ball and who play at the highest level and then not have them in the squad.”
The former Rangers and Liverpool midfielder hasn’t played a single minute of Scotland’s ultimately unsuccessful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. (Mail on Sunday)
Hibs’ Neil Lennon: ‘John McGinn is a Premier League player’
Neil Lennon is adamant that he will be holding on to John McGinn as he attempts to chart Hibernian’s route back to Scotland’s Premiership.
The Leith club’s new gaffer says he has long been an admirer of the Scotland midfielder, right, and insists he is instrumental to his plans for the Scottish Cup winners.
“I think he would naturally improve anyway regardless of who took over here because he is only 21 but for him to get a Scotland cap playing at this level speaks volumes for the season he has had and I believe there is far more to come from him.” (Scotland on Sunday)
Mark Warburton needs more quality to win title, says ex-Rangers star
Mark Warburton needs to buy six more players to stand a chance of reclaiming the Scottish Premiership title from Celtic, Charlie Miller has said.
Though the former Scotland midfielder has hailed Joey Barton as a major coup, he believes the Ibrox side need significant reinforcements.
“A lot will depend on what Celtic do,” he said, “but I’d expect them to make at least one big signing. Brendan Rodgers will probably want another striker to play next to Leigh Griffiths and I could see him making a marquee buy. If that happens, and celtic spend a bit of cash, then Rangers will need to go out and add a bit more quality.” (The Sun on Sunday)