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05th Jul 2017

Joey Barton pulled no punches in scathing assessment of Rangers’ Europa League elimination

"Arguably the worst result in British footballing history in Europe"

Darragh Murphy

Joey Barton is under no illusions about his former club’s current standing.

Barton insists that Rangers never stood a chance of winning the Europa League so should not be overly concerned about their early elimination at the hands of the fourth best team in Luxembourg last season.

The Gers fell to a 2-0 away defeat on Tuesday night, in what was a first European victory for Progres Niederkorn, and Pedro Caixinha has bore the brunt of the blame.

Caixinha rounded off a miserable evening by arguing with frustrated fans from a hedge while the likes of Gary Lineker and Chris Sutton have not held back in their assessment of the result.

Barton has claimed that the defeat could well be “the worst result in British footballing history in Europe,” and that it will come as a significant stumbling block in the club’s attempt to start competing with Celtic once again.

“You can understand the frustration of the Rangers fans,” Barton said on talkSPORT. “They have been to the depths of Scottish football and they are on the way back up. They are climbing back up that mountain and along the way there is going to be setbacks. It is not always going to go in a kind of fairytale way.

“The result last night does slightly change the trajectory of Rangers, certainly in respects of catching back up with Celtic and maybe overthrowing them. You can’t get away from it, it is a terrible result.

“It is arguably the worst result in British footballing history in Europe. But it shouldn’t change the direction of the football club.

“The football club should still be aiming to get back where it once was and that is at the pinnacle of Scottish football and dominating Scottish football. That is where it needs to aim it.

“The reality of it is Rangers were never going to win the Europa League. If Rangers are going to get closer to Celtic and Aberdeen this year, then they don’t really need to be in the Europa League on a Thursday night.

“If Rangers finish above Celtic this season, no one will care about what happened in the Europa League.”