Joey Barton: Analysis of Rangers midfielder's Scottish league debut

Joey Barton praised Hamilton for their performance at Ibrox
Joey Barton praised Hamilton for their performance at Ibrox

Rangers midfielder Joey Barton made a solid start to his Scottish Premiership career as the Light Blues drew 1-1 with Hamilton at Ibrox in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

The 33-year-old former Manchester City, Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers player tackled well and was often the instigator of attacking moves, picking the ball up from defenders and spreading passes.

However, he could not guide his team-mates to a win over their Lanarkshire opponents and was wayward with some of his shooting and passing.

Speaking after the match, in which Martyn Waghorn's second-half goal cancelled out a skilful opener by Accies' Ali Crawford, Barton said: "It was tough, Hamilton came here and acquitted themselves really well.

"They scored a great goal on the counter attack and they came for a result and we have to give them a lot of credit. They executed their game plan quite well.

"People maybe just expected us to turn up here and win today and that was not going to be the case.

"You have to earn your right to win any football match but we showed great character to get back into it."

Joey Barton tussles for possession with Hamilton's Dougie Imrie
Barton tussles for possession with Hamilton's Dougie Imrie

BBC Scotland picked out the Englishman's contributions to the match.

Pre-match: Barton looks stern and focused as he and his team-mates emerge from the tunnel ahead of the Championship flag being unfurled.

3 mins Outpaced down Hamilton's left wing as Accies launch a quick attack.

6 mins Shouts instructions to team-mates as he is in the centre of Rangers' defensive line at the edge of the box as a long-range free-kick comes in.

8 mins Good range of passing by Barton as he tries to control the tempo with short passes and then, unexpectedly, pings a 40-yard pass to James Tavernier down the right.

13 mins Barton balloons a right-footed shot over the bar, Rangers' only chance by this point bar an Andy Halliday shot.

BBC Scotland commentator Rob Maclean
"Rangers might have a problem with who commands the central midfield area. There seemed to be a battle for control going on at times with Niko Kranjcar and Andy Halliday."

20 mins He continues to find space for himself to receive the ball in his own half to kick-start attacks, but the dynamic with Niko Kranjcar and Andy Halliday, his fellow midfielders, does not seem to be working.

26 mins Makes run into the Hamilton box but Kenny Miller's cross flies over his head into the arms of Remi Matthews.

33 mins Now a goal down to Hamilton, Barton drops behind his defence to pick up the ball from goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.

45+1 min Important interception to deny substitute Eamonn Brophy cutting in towards the Rangers goal.

Rangers come out unchanged for the second half. Hamilton's midfield of Crawford, Greg Docherty and Massimo Donati have played well.

Barton tries his luck with a shot from the edge of the Accies box
Barton tries his luck with a shot from the edge of the Accies box

47 mins For the first time in the game, Barton gifts possession to Hamilton as Crawford intercepts his pass but with a sliding challenge the Rangers midfielder breaks up the subsequent attack.

48 mins Barton makes a great challenge in the centre circle to put Kenny Miller clear. Miller passes to Martyn Waghorn but the chance comes to nothing.

50 mins Loses possession with long-range pass.

52 mins Barton crashes a shot two yards over the bar from just outside the box after picking up on a deflected free-kick.

61 mins Sub Harry Forrester curls a pass with the outside of his boot to Waghorn for leveller.

Tweets about Joey Barton's Scottish Premiership debut
John @stgriswalds: "@BBCSportScot @acciesfc he was spent after 60mins - wait till he meets a good midfield #runaround"Doug Mac ‏@ATCO31: "@BBCSportScot @acciesfc He played better as the game went on. His tackling was very impressive. Rangers goal came from his tackle. MOTM"
Denis Maxwell ‏@lubohenke1967: "@BBCSportScot @acciesfc 5 oot of 10...he never owned it."Calum ‏@Cal_Mac_15: "@BBCSportScot he had a decent game. Not quite fit yet but it will come."

63 mins Barton commits a foul 30 yards from his goal and from the resultant free-kick by Crawford, Donati's header looks goal-bound but Foderingham makes an impressive save.

68 mins Barton has to cope with the fresh legs of Darren Lyon, 21, as Donati goes off.

75 mins With the match tied at 1-1 and with plenty of time to pick his spot, Barton pulls a pile-driver well wide of the target.

81 mins Barton is almost the hero for Rangers as he bravely controls the ball with his head despite the close proximity of an opponent and curls a shot at goal from 18 yards. Remi Matthews throws himself to his left to make a great save.

90 mins Barton's league debut ends with a point apiece for the teams.

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