Steven Gerrard accused referee Willie Collum of disregarding the advice of his fourth official in refusing to take action against what he claimed was a “blatant foul” in the build-up to Celtic’s winning goal in the first Old Firm clash of the season.
Rangers manager Gerrard was incensed by Collum’s decision to wave play on after Ryan Jack went down under a challenge by Tom Rogic who proceeded to launch the counter attack in which Olivier Ntcham scored the only goal of the game.
Gerrard, who suffered his first defeat in charge of the Ibrox club, angrily confronted Collum as the referee left the field at full-time and later questioned why he had not heeded the opinion of fourth official John Beaton.
“For me it’s a foul and it’s also a foul for the fourth official, who shouted down his mic ‘foul, foul, foul’,” said Gerrard. “The referee in the middle has ignored that advice. For me it’s a blatant foul, he’s swept his legs. Jacko did well to get himself in between the man and the ball but for me it’s a clear foul. The referee has cost us.
“He disagreed. He didn’t think it was a foul. When he sees it again, I think he will change his mind because it’s a blatant foul. I’ve seen it again, five times.
“Why are they [the fourth official] there? Say for example, talking about a red card incident for them or for us and the fourth official is saying ‘it’s a red, it’s a red’, I think he [Collum] would come over, speak to him, and take the advice.
“Now if he did and we were in the wrong or one of my men got sent off, I’d look at it and say it was a red card. But he hasn’t come over to chat about it but he’s shouted. Look back at the cameras. I’m sure you’ll see it, he’s shouting ‘foul, foul , foul’. Five or six minutes later another foul happened on us and the fourth official shouted ‘foul, foul, foul’ and we didn’t get that one either.”
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, who has now won ten and drawn two of the 12 Old Firm games he has taken charge of, insisted Collum got it right.
“I didn’t see it as a foul,” said Rodgers. “I thought the ball came out of the box and the two of them have come together. There wasn’t a lot of contact from both, really. What’s most important is the referee. Willie was right on the spot so he sees it. We still have a lot of work to do when you are breaking away after it and how we did it and got the goal was very
Collum and his assistants did not see Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor kick out at Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer earlier in the match, an incident likely to be scrutinised by the Scottish FA’s compliance officer. Gerrard admitted he would have had no complaints if McGregor had been sent off.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he said. “He’s lashed out. Of course I will speak to him about it. Look, I’m honest, I’ll tell you what I see. If something’s
blatant, it’s blatant.”
Amid his disappointment as Rangers slipped four points behind Celtic in the Premiership, Gerrard sought to remain upbeat about his start to life at Ibrox having guided his team into the Europa League group stage.
“I was disappointed with my team in the first half, I felt we were hanging on a little but,” said Gerrard. “I wanted
the players to have more courage, make more passes and ask more questions of Celtic. In the second half we made it a contest. I thought we were much better.
“It’s difficult to take positives because we lost, but we’ve been together for only 12-14 weeks and we have had a lot of hurdles and challenges. The players have given everything so I can’t be too critical of them.
“Celtic have been together two years and they have a lot more experience than this new group of players we are working with. We know Celtic are a good team and they are going to have periods of possession but I’ve seen enough from my team today.
“If we can get bodies back fit and new signings up to speed, we can be a match for Celtic in the next fixture.
“Rangers have been blown away in previous derby games, completely annihilated with scorelines that are not acceptable. I’m not saying losing 1-0 is acceptable but we are working in the right direction.
“With more improvements and time to drill them on the training pitch and grow, I believe we are moving in the right direction to close it