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Joey Barton

Banished Joey Barton says sorry after Rangers row

Glasgow (AFP) – Colourful Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has apologised unreservedly after being banished from the Scottish Premiership club’s training ground for what he called “inappropriate” comments.

Barton’s future with the Glasgow giants was thrown into doubt after he was sent home on Tuesday following a reported row with team-mate Andy Halliday.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton told Barton not to return until Monday and the 34-year-old will miss Saturday’s Premiership contest with Ross County at Ibrox.

The incident occurred days after Rangers suffered a painful 5-1 thrashing against bitter rivals Celtic in the first league Old Firm derby for four years.

In a statement posted on Twitter late on Thursday, Barton — who has a history of misdemeanours and was once jailed — said he was sorry for the comments, but insisted he only made them because he cares about the club.

“Obviously after (the) Old Firm game on Saturday everybody was hurting and in training on Tuesday there was a full and frank discussion about the result and reasons for our loss,” Barton wrote.

“I, like everyone else, care deeply about the task at hand, which is to restore Rangers Football Club to the top of Scottish football.

“The discussion we had involved some sharp disagreement about the game and some harsh words were said. There were only words involved in the disagreement, nothing else. Nevertheless, some of the words used did overstep the mark.

“As someone who communicates directly, I accept that some of the things I said were inappropriate and for that I apologise unreservedly.

“I cannot, however, apologise for caring deeply about winning and for wanting to perform better myself and for Rangers to do much better.”

Barton confirmed he had been told to stay away until next week and added: “Whilst I don’t feel that this was necessary I fully respect the manager’s decision.

“I regret what happened and on Monday I will report for training and I will do what it takes to help the team draw a line under it so that we can get back to the task at hand.”

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