Miller: I didn’t have to tee up Bar­ton move

Stal­wart says for­mer Burn­ley mid­fielder needed no con­vinc­ing over move to Ibrox

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP - MATTHEW LIND­SAY

KENNY MILLER teamed up with Joey Bar­ton for a round of golf at Loch Lomond when the English mid­fielder came up to Scot­land to hold talks with Rangers last month.

Yet, the striker ac­cepts no credit for the for­mer Manch­ester City, New­cas­tle United, Queens Park Rangers and Mar­seille player turn­ing down the chance to play in the Bar­clays Premier League again next sea­son with Burn­ley to sign for the Ibrox club.

Miller was struck by Bar­ton’s en­thu­si­asm for the move dur­ing the hours they spent tread­ing the fair­ways at the ex­clu­sive Luss course and wasn’t sur­prised when he agreed a two-year deal shortly af­ter.

Asked if he had played a part in the Lad­brokes Cham­pi­onship win­ners lur­ing Bar­ton to Glas­gow, Miller replied: “I don’t think I needed to. He seemed so keen. He was ask­ing a lot of ques­tions. Not only about the foot­ball side ei­ther, but about the club in gen­eral, about the back­room staff, ev­ery­thing about the place. It was the first time I’d met him. He looks deeper: at what goes on at a club; how it’s run.

“He seemed re­ally keen on all the small de­tails but, for me, com­ing away that day I was quite con­fi­dent it would get over the line. I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted it did.”

Bar­ton, who was re­leased by Manch­ester City in 2007 fol­low­ing a train­ing ground al­ter­ca­tion and later spent time in prison for as­sault, has cer­tainly hit the head­lines since agree­ing to move to Rangers, de­spite hav­ing not yet played for them.

He has de­clared that he will be the best player in Scot­land next sea­son, sug­gested new Celtic man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers is over­rated and claimed Scott Brown, who he will square up to in the Old Firm fix­ture this com­ing sea­son, is an in­fe­rior player to him. His back­ground and hugely con­tro­ver­sial state­ments have led many to ques­tion whether he ap­pre­ci­ates the in­ten­sity of the Celtic-Rangers ri­valry and to sug­gest he could be a li­a­bil­ity in the Glas­gow derby match. Miller, though, has no such con­cerns.

“You can have ideas about peo­ple, but you don’t know them till you ac­tu­ally meet them,” he said. “For me, I’ll make my judg­ments on some­one only when I meet them. To be hon­est I thought he was brand new.

“I just tried to let him know what we were about as a team. I told him about the way we play and about the ethos the man­ager’s got. It was a great day for it. A round of golf at Loch Lomond is al­ways great. To cap it all, we played to­gether and won the game.”

Miller added: “He’s a fan­tas­tic foot­baller. Look at the lev­els he’s played at. It’s been Premier League, Cham­pi­onship win­ners last year. He was in the French league with Mar­seille, which is a huge foot­ball club.

“He talked about the pas­sion of the fans there as well. Some of the sit­u­a­tions that went on with those fans were in­cred­i­ble. It was about try­ing to match it up with Old Firm at­mos­pheres, how fran­tic games can be, how pas­sion­ate the fans are. He’s played at a huge level. But, out­with that, the lead­er­ship, the ex­pe­ri­ence he’s go­ing to bring, will be key. He’s a big voice and a big char­ac­ter in a dress­ing room, which is what you need.

“A lot has been made of Broony and Joey go­ing head to head. They are two good play­ers, two guys who will be giv­ing ev­ery­thing for their team. With the age he is at and the ex­pe­ri­ence he has got, I have got ab­so­lutely no doubt he will han­dle it. We are talk­ing about a player that has played at a top, top level all his days. He is com­ing up here and, yes, it is go­ing to be a new ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing in this team, this league and in an Old Firm game, but with the ex­pe­ri­ence he has got and the level he has played at I am sure he will come up here and rel­ish it.”

Brown and Bar­ton traded in­sults again this week – with both play­ers claim­ing the other sup­ported their team. “I am a bit bored of it,” said Miller. “It is get­ting a bit old al­ready. It is all tongue and cheek. [But] it is only good for the Scot­tish game.”

Miller has been heart­ened by the qual­ity of all of the new ar­rivals and feels Rangers will be able to launch a se­ri­ous chal­lenge for the Premier­ship ti­tle in the new sea­son. He es­pe­cially wel­comed the ac­qui­si­tion of Clint Hill, who at 38 is just older than him. “The pos­i­tive is he’s older than me as well, so I’m not the old­est any more,” he said. “That was one of the re­mits for the gaffer. Se­ri­ously, though, to have played the level he has for as long as he has speaks vol­umes for him.

“We needed num­bers, but it was the right num­bers, the char­ac­ters, the qual­ity. There’s no doubt the man­ager has got ex­actly what we needed and there are still more to come.”

EASY CHOICE: Kenny Miller in­sists Joey Bar­ton needed no con­vinc­ing to sign

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