Rangers’ Rob Kiernan accused of punching St Johnstone captain

Rangers' Rob Kiernan was accused by St Johnstone's Steven Anderson of punching him in the ribs. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Rangers' Rob Kiernan was accused by St Johnstone's Steven Anderson of punching him in the ribs. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Rangers defender Rob Kiernan is likely to face a suspension after television pictures showed him aiming a punch in the stomach of St Johnstone captain Steven Anderson.

On a miserable night for Kiernan, whose error gifted Steven MacLean the equaliser for Saints after Barrie McKay had put Rangers ahead at McDiarmid Park, his clash with Anderson is now in line to earn him a notice of complaint charge from the SFA compliance officer.

Holiday deadlines mean the case will not be heard before the weekend, leaving Kiernan free to play in Saturday’s Old Firm game at Ibrox. Rangers will go into that match 16 points behind Celtic, who also have a game in hand.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton said he had not seen the incident involving Kiernan. Anderson, however, was forthright in his condemnation of the Rangers player.

“It was a corner and he caught me in the ribs,” said Anderson. “Brian Easton saw it as well. It was a clear punch on me. If that’s the way he wants to play then it’s up to him – but he is going to get done for it.

“You can’t do that in football games. I’m not bothered but if it gets highlighted then he deserves it. I was marking him at a corner and there was a bit of argy bargy – then he punched me. The referee said he did not see it and you can understand it because there was a lot going on in the box. The linesman has probably not seen it either.”

Warburton was left frustrated by the 1-1 draw which brought a halt to his team’s recent run of four successive league victories but he refused to blame Kiernan.

“I feel like we are leaving here having dropped two points,” he said. “It was a mistake by Rob and we are all human. How did he respond to the mistake? Did he shy away from the ball or from a tackle? No, he didn’t. So all credit to Rob. As long as he learns from his mistakes, as we we all must do, I’ve got no problem with that.”

Warburton is hopeful both skipper Lee Wallace, who missed out last night with a hamstring strain, and Clint Hill, who limped off with a dead leg, can recover in time for Saturday but admitted it will be “touch and go”.