It hasn’t been a month since Rangers announced the signing of former Premier League bad boy Joey Barton, but Sky Bet are already offering a betting bonanza leading up to his first season north of the border.
The Glaswegian club will make its return to the Scottish Premiership after a four-year absence, and while the top flight may be familiar territory for some of their stars, it’s a foreign setting for Barton.
That being said, the one-time England midfielder could yet find Scotland to be his kind of pace, and Barton is currently at 16/1 (17.00) to be named SPFL Player of the Year for 2016-17. Only two Englishmen have won the award with Rangers in the past: Mark Hateley in 1994 and Paul Gascoigne in 1996. As if that wasn’t enough inspiration for Barton, it’s also worth noting Gazza picked up the award after his maiden campaign in Scotland.
Such a bet may be too difficult to fathom, though, and it seems more likely the 33-year-old will receive 10 or more yellow cards in the 2016-17 Scottish Premiership season, priced at 5/6 (1.83) - 10 or fewer is at equal odds. Barton earned nine cautions in 38 games for Burnley last season but picked up 11 in each of his last two campaigns with Queens Park Rangers to show his hot-head streak is still apparent. What’s more, it may be that age comes to play a factor in how often Barton sees yellow in Scotland, not to mention what kind of aggression we’re likely to see from the often feisty anchor.
Speaking of discipline, Gers fans will be counting on a player of Barton’s experience to help them turn the tide against bitter rivals Celtic this season, too. Sky Bet has the midfielder pegged at 10/1 (11.00) to see red in his first league derby clash of the 2016-17 campaign, while he’s at a slightly more conservative 7/4 (2.75) to be sent off against Celtic in any Scottish Premiership fixture. It’s important to note the format of the division means the two teams could face off anywhere up to four times in the campaign depending on their positions after 33 games.
Rangers will really hope Barton can inject quality in all areas of the pitch, and despite failing to score more than three league goals in a single season since 2010-11, he’s at 4/5 (1.80) to net five or more in the Scottish Premiership this term.
Just how will the move to Scotland see Barton cope, and could he excel thanks to his 14 years featuring in England’s top two tiers?