Former Celtic boss and current Celebrity Big Brother contestant John Barnes has shared some insight into why more footballers do not come out as gay.

The former England and Liverpool player believes homophobes will always find a way to make gay players’ lives difficult, no matter how great the support from the majority of fans.

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Fellow reality TV contestant India Willougby got the ball rolling on the topic when she asked the 54-year-old: “Do you think if a footballer came out as gay publicly they would get stick?”

Willougby, 51, went on to say: “I don’t think they would.

“I think the first footballer that comes out as gay in the premier league, in the first match back, there will be a standing ovation in the ground, everybody applauding.”

Evening Times:
Barnes as Celtic head coach for the 1999-2000 season

However, pundit Barnes - who became as well known for his rapping skills as his performances in midfield in the ‘80s and ‘90s - highlighted how coming out goes beyond just one game.

He replied: “That could be the next match. Obviously there are matches and careers after that.

“What wouldn’t happen, because of the anti-discrimination laws, they wouldn’t be shouting at him in the stadium, as obviously they’d be ejected.

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“You’re still going to get kicked out for racist abuse and homophobic abuse. But, if that gay footballer gets the ball and 10,000 people start booing, you can’t kick people out for booing.”

“There are always ways of letting you know, ‘I’m discriminating against you’. So, rather than change the law, educate people.”

Barnes was appointed head coach at Celtic for the 1999-2000 season, an appointment which quickly ended in disaster.

In February 2000, a then First Division Inverness Caley Thistle thrashed the Hoops 3-1 at Parkhead, knocking them out of the Scottish Cup.