“Fulham pretty much chasing the game from the start” by incendiarymind is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Joey Barton spoke exclusively to me about his time in Scottish football.
“Rangers was the only blot on my copybook, where I didn’t have a successful period. That’s something that I would like to do. I don’t know why, because of the way I was treated there, but if you’ve ever had a loss on your record as a boxer, you always want the opportunity to put that right.
“I have to say this, Scottish football is not as good as what people in Scotland think it is. But it’s also not as bad as what people in England think it is.
“There’s a lot of qualities about it. It’s a tough place to play. The standard is definitely different from the Premier League and Championship in England, even the most ardent Scottish football fan would accept. But there’s still a uniqueness about.
“It’s not an easy league to win, although the dominance of your Celtics and Rangers financially makes it very difficult for your Aberdeens, Hearts, Hibs and Kilmarnock to break into that top echelon.
Aberdeen’s best shot at that under Derek McInnes was when Rangers were out the top flight. They made it competitive for Celtic but they didn’t quite do it and it became a bit monotonous.
“The difficulty about Rangers was that it was a complete rebuild. You’d seen the fiasco of Rangers being demoted to the bottom tier and the Phoenix rising back up.”
“The underdog story appealed to me. I thought ‘f***ing hell, that’s a huge football club and an incredible fanbase. It needed helping.
“I wanted to win a league and Rangers came out of the blue.
“Frank McParland spoke to me and I’d watched Warbs’ team at Brentford and they played good stuff.
“I was 34/35 and it was probably the right time to go to Scotland. I’d done the fighting relegation in England, so lets go to Rangers and have four or five good years trying to get them back to the top of the Scottish game.
“I knew they had a fantastic fanbase. I’d seen the UEFA Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium where they took over Manchester and shut the town down. I thought it would be great to have them at your back.”
“They’d been starved of success and had been demoted. It would be great to get them back to their rightful position.”