Lee Wallace: Rangers team get it much worse than opposing fans

The Rangers captain says players get much worse than just a fist-pump. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Rangers captain says players get much worse than just a fist-pump. Picture: Michael Gillen

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Rangers skipper Lee Wallace believes if he and his team-mates can put up with abuse from the stands then opposition fans should be able to cope with his side’s on-field celebrations.

The Gers captain was left frustrated earlier this week when team-mate Andy Halliday was controversially sent off during the 2-0 win at Morton.

Halliday was shown a second yellow card by referee Barry Cook after aiming a fist pump in the direction of the home support as he celebrated his side’s second goal by Barrie McKay.

His manager Mark Warburton admitted he was bemused after the official later told him the gesture could have “incited a riot or trouble with the Morton fans”.

But Wallace claims fans need to have a thicker skin.

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“We as players receive a lot worse than a fist pump or a celebration,” Wallace said.

“That’s part and parcel of the game. We’re thick-skinned and know each time we take to the field at an away venue we’re going to get it.

“We know each time we take to the street we’re going to get it. It’s a 24/7 lifestyle for us and we know we’re going to get abuse.”

Warburton has already confirmed he will be seeking clarity on the situation from the Scottish Football Association.

Wallace admits he would appreciate a clear explanation of what is acceptable in the aftermath of goals.

He said: “The referees are going to need to come to an agreement on what can be done in terms of celebrations. Of course we know we can’t jump into crowds. There are certain gestures that merit yellow cards.

“We know on one hand you can’t overdo it with the celebrations. The referees and police came in earlier in the season and discussed the safety procedures with us. We are well aware that taking your top off or anything like that will merit a yellow card.

“But equally, there also has to be a common sense part of it. You have to be passionate.

“Andy is a born-and-bred Rangers fan. Barrie scored a great goal and he celebrated it. He’s a passionate man and we have to preach that type of passion in the game, albeit without stepping over that mark.

“We don’t know if Andy has done that or not. I’d imagine we’d have to have a bit of clarity because moving forward it is a real shaky one for the officials.

“We know the dos and don’ts include things like placing your hand to your ear or the ‘shushing’ motion in the area of the fans. But Andy was in the middle of the pitch. Again there might need to be a bit of clarity in the where, when and how you celebrate.

“It’s down to the officials and guys like (SFA head of referees) John Fleming to find a solution.”

Halliday’s dismissal now rules him out of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship clash with third-placed Falkirk at Ibrox.

Rangers suffered a 2-1 defeat the last time the side’s met at the Falkirk Stadium just before Christmas. It was the lowest point of a run that saw Warburton’s men drop 10 points in the space of two months. But in the five games since, Gers have fired 21 goals and re-established a five point lead at the top of the table.

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