ALEX RAE hopes Rangers can put the Joey Barton saga behind them sooner rather than later and focus on their Premiership campaign.

The midfielder returned to training at Auchenhowie on Thursday after several weeks away from the club following a training ground bust-up with Andy Halliday and boss Mark Warburton.

Barton has played his last game for Warburton and will spend the next couple of months with the Light Blues’ Development Squad ahead of a likely Ibrox exit in the January transfer window.

It will bring an end to a tumultuous time in Glasgow for the 34-year-old but Rae knows Rangers have to focus their attentions elsewhere now.

He said: “The club have made a decision and gone through a process and they have brought him back now. I would expect something to be concluded in January in terms of Joey moving on and I think that would probably suit most people.

“It has been a saga from the off and since it first came out. When you are in a managerial position, you try to put these kind of issues to bed sooner rather than later.

“This has dragged on and I think it probably affected the whole environment. Now it has been concluded, the process is done and Joey is training with the kids.

“Everybody has to settle down and Rangers have to kick on to try and secure a high position in the league and close the gap on Celtic.”

The capture of Barton was the headline deal of the summer in Scottish football as the midfielder left Burnley to make the move across the border.

But he failed to live up to his own pre-season exclamations of being the best player in our game as he fired jibes across the city at Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and captain Scott Brown.

His final appearance for the Gers came in the 5-1 Old Firm defeat at Parkhead as Rangers’ Premiership title bid suffered another early blow.

And Rae is disappointed that the gamble hasn’t paid off for Warburton as his bold move in the transfer market has backfired so early in the campaign.

He said: “I think everybody at the beginning going into this arrangement would hope he would be one of the marquee signings.

“I thought he would do well because I had seen him play in the Championship. I knew him when he was a kid at 17 and he has had his ups and downs.

“He seems to have settled down and he was speaking about this being the right move at the right time.

"He had other options that could have been more fruitful for him. He felt this was right but it just hasn’t worked.

“The manager had a decision to make and he has made that. There are a lot of people in the media who haven’t got a clue about the dynamics but that have come out with ridiculous comments about the situation without knowing the legalities of it. They are looking for sound bites.

“The club have done it the way they think was necessary and now they need to buckle down and let the situation settle down.

“People have to realise that there is a legal obligation as well. I think it would probably be illegal to banish Joey so they have brought him back. It has to be done right.

“I was at the Sandy Jardine book launch on Thursday afternoon and people were talking about his humility and how he conducted himself. That is one of the things I have always associated with Rangers growing up as a boy and seeing Sandy when I was an apprentice here.

“They have to do things in the right way. It would be easy to send him packing but it is changed days and things have moved on from just sending players into the wilderness.”