Former Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock insists new Rangers recruit Joey Barton can set Scottish football alight as long as the midfielder manages to keep his cool
Warnock witnessed the 33-year-old’s fiery temperament working together at Loftus Road although the England cap avoided a red card last season for the first time in five campaigns as he helped Burnley clinch the Championship title.
And experienced manager Warnock insists Barton, who has picked up a total of nine red cards and 111 cautions during his career, can make an impact at Ibrox if he stays out of trouble.
Warnock said: “We saw a very mature Joey Barton last season. No-one expected him to go through a whole season without the red mist descending.
“If he can curb that red mist, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him win the player of the season award.
“But I don’t know how he will react to the decibel level of an Old Firm match.
“Now the teams are closer, and Rangers have already put one over Celtic in the Scottish Cup. I see that rivalry becoming more intense.
“I don’t think even he knows if he will cope with it.”
On his own experience of working with Barton at Queens Park Rangers, Warnock, speaking to the BBC, added: “He wasn’t the easiest of players to manage.
“But if you look at the star quality in players, the top players have that little edge about them. There are not many like Dennis Bergkamp who just have their ability.
“That edge is what makes them a winner. I don’t think Burnley would have gone up last season without Joey Barton, and Sean Dyche would probably say the same.
“If Joey can curb that red mist, I think he will enjoy it in Scotland more than he has enjoyed his football for many years.”