Rangers fans have been left stunned after bizarre comments from John Barnes in which he backs the Celtic squad’s trip to Dubai and praises the form of Shane Duffy [Glasgow Times].

Barnes spent eight months as Celtic manager during the 1999/2000 season in what was a brief and unsuccessful stint in Scottish football for the former Liverpool and England star.

07/11/99 Spl.Rangers V Celtic (4-2).Ibrox - Glasgow.Celtic Manager John Barnes (Left) And The Celtic Dugout Watch On As Their Side Conceed Another Goal

Barnes in the Celtic dugout at Ibrox in 1999. (Photo by SNS Group via Getty Images)

Quotes from the 57-year-old are still sought by the Scottish media from time to time, though, and his latest opinions have raised more than a few eyebrows within the Gers support.

Celtic have received criticism from all corners of the game for their ongoing trip to Dubai while Covid-19 restrictions tighten across much of the UK, but speaking to the Glasgow Times, Barnes defended their decision to head overseas.


“At the end of the day, they had permission to go to Dubai,” he said. “But following last weekend’s defeat to Rangers, it’s inevitable that people will make their opinions heard. But I don’t think going to Dubai had any bearing on whether they lost to Rangers or whether they can win the league or not.”

Barnes added that if players or staff are found guilty of protocol breaches, they should be punished, but he believes that the trip could bring big benefits in terms of team bonding and stated that “until we know more, I can’t see this being an issue.”

Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Rangers fans were stunned by the former Celtic boss’ bizarre takes on Duffy and Dubai. (Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images)

He then goes on to praise Shane Duffy, the centre-back who has been widely criticised for his performances since joining Celtic on loan from Brighton in the summer.

Nir Bitton, who isn’t a natural defender, was preferred to Duffy for Saturday’s Old Firm, and when the Republic of Ireland international came on, it wasn’t long before he scythed down Ryan Kent, after being beaten all ends up by the Gers winger’s pace.

Yet, it seems Duffy has impressed Barnes with his efforts so far in Scotland.

“It’s not right to look at Duffy and say that he’s been a failure because he hasn’t,” he said. “In fact, he’s probably one of the players that have performed well this season.”

The comments have unsurprisingly attracted a lot of attention and many Rangers fans have expressed their disbelief.

Here’s a selection of reactions from Twitter:

Rangers fans were also in stitches earlier this week when a former Ibrox star landed an ‘absolutely perfect’ dig at Celtic.

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