I almost laughed my way to a hospital bed this morning when I read Scott Brown’s amazing comments on Joey Barton and his obvious relish in the collapse of the Sevco player’s career at the club. It was gloating, yes, but I think it has a dual purpose.
I think he’s trying to make Barton explode. I think he’s fishing for a reaction, trying to spark a detonation which takes out not only the player but those around him at Ibrox. I think it’s pretty clear that he’s dancing on Barton’s grave at Ibrox to get a reaction, but he’s not hoping for one directed at himself or our club. He wants it directed at Sevco.
Barton’s pride has to be hurting right now, at the way he’s been treated first but also by the media stories that the team is playing much better without him. Indeed, Brown went straight for the jugular there, and made it clear that the player’s gravest errors were in criticising his own team mates.
He might as well have said “you’re not being missed.”
“He tried to wind the whole game up and for it to be about him but top-quality players have come into these games in the past and struggled,” Brown said. He’s right of course. But he rubbed it in even further. “It’s always going to be hard for anyone if they are not going to do the work,” he said. That’s undeniable; it’s pretty clear that Barton came to this country thinking it would be a holiday.
This is all fair comment. “I just did my talking on the park rather than in the media,” our captain continued, which I mentioned on here earlier in the week. The whole club does its talking where it counts now. There are no gaudy predictions; Brown has said their team will give us a harder game than at Celtic Park. He’s giving them no ammo to use.
But he gave Barton plenty.
“Yes, Rangers have improved without him – they have started to get a few results and a steady team and that’s better for them,” he said.
As tough as it’s been for the player to read those kind of comments from the hacks they will be tougher to take coming from a fellow player, and especially this one in particular.
If Barton was to leave Sevco right now he would do so as a failure. That’s not something he’ll be prepared to countenance. I suspect Brown’s words have been timed for the maximum effect. It will have humiliated the Sevco midfielder. It will have riled him. He will be itching to set Brown and others straight. But he can’t prove people wrong until he’s on the park, and that means fighting a full-frontal battle with his own club first.
Barton is incapable of accepting his own culpability. He will blame the manager. He will blame others at the club. The longer this goes on the more angry he’ll get. In the end a detonation is inevitable. Brown is trying to speed the process up.
A war between Barton and the club will be costly for all sides. He won’t win, but neither will they. It will be ugly.
All of which Scott Brown knows full well.
Which is why he’s made the comments.
He’s a sneaky one, our captain. I bloody well love it.