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Rangers boss still confident he can tie up Barton deal

By Andy Newport

Published 20/05/2016

Negotiations: Joey Barton is mulling over a potential move to Ibrox after a successful season with Burnley where he was named the club’s player of the year
Negotiations: Joey Barton is mulling over a potential move to Ibrox after a successful season with Burnley where he was named the club’s player of the year

Rangers boss Mark Warburton admits he is still waiting for Joey Barton to make up his mind on a move to Ibrox.

The free agent was pictured being shown round the Glasgow giants' stadium and Murray Park training base last Saturday.

The 33-year-old - named Sky Bet Championship winners Burnley's player of the year - has been offered a 12-month contract extension by Clarets boss Sean Dyche, but is also mulling over Warburton's proposal of a longer-term deal with the Gers.

The Scottish Championship winners believe the one-time England midfielder will give them the added steel they require ahead of returning to the top flight next season, but Warburton confessed he has yet to be given an indication of Barton's thinking.

Asked if he was still waiting for a response, the Gers boss said: "Yeah, basically."

However, Warburton - speaking at the pre-match media conference for tomorrow's Scottish Cup final with Hibernian - remains confident.

He added: "Joey is a player that will have many suitors I'm sure. Our job is to sell the opportunity that Rangers represents.

"We're never going to compete with wages down south, that's an obvious point to highlight, but if we can show what we are as a club, the support, the history, the stature of the club and what our aspirations and targets are then hopefully any player will find that appealing.

"If they do hopefully we can conclude business. If not, we move on. We were delighted to welcome Joey to Glasgow last weekend. He was great company. He's a very experienced, a very combative and highly intelligent footballer, so we were delighted to talk to him."

Meanwhile, Alan Stubbs revealed a form of group therapy is one way his Hibernian players will refocus for Saturday's Scottish Cup final against Rangers.

The Easter Road side's hopes of promotion to the Ladbrokes Premiership ended last Friday against Falkirk when Bob McHugh scored a stoppage-time winner in the second-leg of the play-off semi-final to take the Bairns through 5-4 on aggregate.

The defeat means Hibs will be in the Championship for a third successive season.

However, the Hibs boss insisted he was happy his players were helping each other to get over their disappointment to try to bring the Scottish Cup back to Leith since 1902.

"When you have a really good group of players, sometimes you don't have to say anything because this game speaks for itself," he said.

"It is good to talk at times, go over the game, where they felt it could have gone better, where they felt it went wrong and it is good to be able to bounce question and answers off each other."

Rangers

Hibernian

William Hill Scottish Cup Final:

Hampden Park, Saturday, 3.00pm

Belfast Telegraph

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