FORMER Celtic striker Chris Sutton and ex-Rangers star Derek Johnstone traded verbal blows during a vitriolic live radio showdown.
During the spat on Radio Clyde, refereed by Superscoreboard host Gerry McCulloch, BT Sport pundit Sutton labelled his rival “an embarrassment to the media profession”, adding, “he’s an apologist, he’s a charlatan, he’s a Rangers puppet”.
As the row became more heated, the former Chelsea striker called Johnstone “a party political broadcaster” and “an embarrassment [who] shouldn’t be on the radio”, claiming he refused to criticise Rangers during Ally McCoist's reign and backed controversial former owners Craig Whyte and Charles Green.
Sutton was responding to Johnstone’s claims that the former Celtic man deliberately tries to cause controversy and provoke a reaction with his views as a pundit on BT Sport's Scottish football coverage.
He's an embarrassment to the media profession, he’s an apologist, he’s a charlatan, he’s a Rangers puppet
After refuting allegations that he ducked out of the Ibrox directors' box after spotting Sutton during Rangers’ win over Queen of the South, Johnstone hit back: “You’ve had your five minutes of nonsense, I’ll take over now.”
He added: “I’ll watch [football on BT Sport] but I’ll turn the sound down because I get absolutely nothing from yourself except negativity.”
Johnstone went on: “If anyone says anything different from you, you’re bawling, shouting; you’re the man, what you say is right.
“You’re talking about fellow footballers, you have no respect for them whatsoever.”
Johnstone, seemingly apropos of nothing, then made bizarre claims about being followed around the ground by security men.
Citing one example of his rival’s hyperbole, Johnstone hit out at Sutton's claims that Rangers boss Mark Warburton would be sacked if he lost his next two games, saying that while his rival was entitled to his opinion, it was “utter nonsense”.
Sutton, who claimed no one has been able to adequately refute his opinion on the matter, said Johnstone was “hardly forming an argument” to counter his view.
“What does forming an argument mean?” replied the Radio Clyde pundit. “You’re saying things trying to get a reaction.”
The pair then descended into accusing each other of lying, Sutton claiming, “the problem you have [Derek] is you don’t tell the truth, it’s as simple as that”.
Johnstone replied that Sutton was “telling porkies” but when asked by Sutton to back up the statement, he instead said he was disgusted with himself for even talking to the 2003-04 SPFA Players' Player of the Year.
The former Celtic player then cheekily invited Johnstone to his upcoming Q&A night in Glasgow, to which the former Scotland internationalist replied: “I hope you make plenty of money at it but I certainly won’t be anywhere near it.”
“That’s a shame,” quipped Sutton, “that would have been nice.”