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‘JOEY’S STILL IN MY POCKET,’ JOKES BROONY

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SCOTT BROWN is obviously quite happy to remind Joey Barton of the day he would prefer to forget.

Just over two years ago, the Celtic skipper had been told he and his team-mates would be put in their place when the Englishman, self-declared “best player in Scotland”, prepared to rule Parkhead when Mark Warburton’s side turned up on a memorable Saturday afternoon on September 10 2016.

Big-mouth Barton, who had arrived on a free transfer from Burnley in the summer and had been hailed as the Ibrox club’s marquee signing, fired out all sort of rash promises before kick-off.

When the smoke of battle in the east end of Glasgow cleared, the scoreline showed a 5-1 triumph for Brendan Rodgers’ men with Moussa Dembele claiming a hat-trick and Stuart Armstrong and Scott Sinclair chipping in with the others.

Barton, who had also claimed Brown “wasn’t in his league”, was largely anonymous as he and his colleagues were swept away by a green-and-white tidal wave during a one-sided 90 minutes that once again emphasised talk is cheap.

The pair have exchanged some frank views since that drubbing and the Hoops captain insisted the midfield duel that eventful day was “men against boys”. Barton retorted by saying the Celtic powerhouse “wasn’t the full shilling”.

Brown was taking part in a Q&A for Celtic TV when a fan asked: “How many times a day do you let Joey Barton out of your pocket for fresh air?”

The 33-year-old onfield Celtic leader replied: “Joey’s still in my pocket!”.

Barton’s Scottish sojourn was soon cut short following a training ground bust-up with under-pressure boss Warburton, who was later sacked.

The player returned to Turf Moor and his playing career ended after being handed an 18-month ban for breaching gambling rules, although it was later cut by five months on appeal.

Scott Brown has won six domestic honours in Barton’s absence and is in line for a seventh piece of silverware when the Hoops take on Aberdeen in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday.

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