Barton apologises for red card

Joey Barton insists there was no malice in the punch on Tom Huddlestone that saw him sent off in QPR's 2-1 defeat to Hull City.

QPR captain Joey Barton has apologised to his team-mates and the club's fans after he was sent off for aiming a punch at Tom Huddlestone in his side's 2-1 defeat to Hull City on Saturday.

The former Newcastle midfielder was shown a straight red card by referee Anthony Taylor midway through the first half, after aiming a low blow at Huddlestone.

The incident came just a few seconds after a late challenge on Hull's David Meyler by debutant Darnell Furlong, and Barton claims he was merely trying to protect his team-mate.

After the game he tweeted: "Young kid making his debut has made a good tackle. Couple of Hull players trying to get him sent off. My job as captain is to protect him.

"I've tried to prevent Hull's players influencing referee as u can see by me pushing [Alex] Bruce away.

"My actions towards Huddlestone were certainly not malicious, it was a stupid reaction to being barged but I can appreciate it wasn't right.

"I'm gutted I got sent off. I've let my teammates down today and being someone who puts the team above everything else I'm gutted about that.

"I've apologised to the lads and would like to apologise to all QPR fans who travelled today."

It is the seventh red card for Barton in what has been a career filled with controversies, with boss Chris Ramsey now facing the prospect of being without his captain ahead of tough games against Arsenal and Tottenham.

Ramsey was, though, impressed with the way his side responded to going a man down.

Only a last-minute strike from birthday boy Dame N'Doye denied QPR a point and Ramsey felt his players had shown character.

"Of course it [the Barton sending off] is an incident that we wouldn't want to happen but I thought the players reacted well to keep going for that long with 10 men.

"One of the problems we have had for most of the season is that we haven't concentrated right until the end.

"Unfortunately all that work-rate, I wouldn't say went to waste because there were a lot of positives to come out of it, but we couldn't really get that point after working so hard."

Ramsey, who was recently handed the reins at Loftus Road until the end of the season, refused to offer his own assessment of the red card, but did reveal that he would be revisiting the incident.

He added: "There's no point in me coming out here and making statements when I haven't seen it. I would rather look at it in the cold light of day when tempers and emotions have calmed down and then discuss it with the player."