"Barney" Battles had gained quite a reputation for himself in Scotland after winning the Scottish championship for two seasons running with Hearts and Celtic. He was loaned to Liverpool at the end of the 1895/96 season where he featured in two second division games, but also played in three of the four 'Test' matches which decided the promotion and relegation issues of the day. For his six weeks' loan he received a special gold medal and a cheque for a "handsome sum". Liverpool had previously tried to get him on loan from Hearts in a test match against Bury in the 1894/95 season. Hearts didn't release him or his teammate Bill Michael, who Liverpool tried to get on loan as well, and the Reds were relegated.
Battles was of heavyweight proportions, but made up for his girth by his enthusiasm and being of fearless nature. He read the game well and was a popular player. He rejoined Tom Watson's Liverpool in March 1898 prompting this verse. Barney only made one appearance in a 2-2 draw at Anfield against Bury on 31 March 1898 before moving back to Celtic for his second spell at the Glasgow club in October 1898. Battles impressed the selectors of the Scottish national side with his performances for Celtic and was picked for three home internationals in 1901 as well as featuring for the Scottish League. Barney went down with influenza after playing for Kilmarnock at Ibrox on 21 January 1905. The flu developed into pneumonia and he died at his home in Glasgow’s Gallowgate on 9 February 1905, at the age of only 29. No fewer than 40,000 people lined the route to Dalbeth cemetery at his funeral. The income from the stands at the Scotland - Ireland match at Celtic Park on 18 March 1905, a total of £150, was donated by host club Celtic to the grieving Battles family in tribute to their former player. His wife was pregnant at the time and the boy she gave birth to, Barney jr., went on to play for Scotland and while at Hearts was top-scorer of the 1930/31 Scottish league season with 44 goals.