Football/Soccer

Joey Barton claims Scott Brown 'nowhere near the level of player I am' as Mark Warburton plays down comments

Rangers' summer signing Joey Barton previously claimed Brown was "nowhere near the level of player I am" which served to increase the anticipation around the first league meeting between the clubs which takes place at Celtic Park on September 10.

Gers boss Mark Warburton, however, insists Brown's comments will have no effect on his squad as they get ready for the visit of Accies.

Speaking at the club's training ground where he was helping publicise the sale of family season tickets at Ibrox, he said: "They don't need a comment from any player.

"Obviously Scott is a very experienced international player, but we don't need a comment from players to get ready for Saturday.

"Before Scott's comments, Joey said some words and I said it is Joey's opinion.

"Football is a game of opinion. As long as it is put forward in a respectful manner, I have no problem with it and Scott has made his thoughts very clear and good luck to him.

"At the end of the season if he is proven right I am sure he will put his hand up, if he is not I am sure we will have our word, obviously.

"But our focus has to be on Rangers and what we do and hopefully we will start off on a positive note and take it from there.

"The club has been out the top flight for four years, it is a massive day for the club.

"They worked hard last season to achieve promotion in style, which they did, and they will be ready for this day so we are looking forward to it very much."

Warburton was keen to stress his Rangers side have four Premiership matches and a Betfred Cup game against Peterhead before the trip to Celtic.

The former Brentford boss said: "We know there are a number of challenges.

"Celtic is the obvious challenge. Aberdeen and Hearts, you look at their quality and European pedigree, the experience they have gained in recent seasons and how well they are managed.

"So we are very well aware of all the threats, but there are no easy games.

"It is up to us to focus every single week and take one game at a time.

"The game on September 10 against Celtic - if you lose the first three or four games it is irrelevant.

"Just focus on the first game, get the three points and move forward from there."

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