Rangers manager Mark Warburton has insisted his defender Rob Kiernan has no case to answer ahead of a potential Scottish FA misconduct charge next week.
St Johnstone captain Steven Anderson accused Kiernan of punching him in the ribs during Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at McDiarmid Park.
Television pictures show Kiernan swinging his left hand into the midriff of Anderson who stumbles backwards and then appears to look across to check if the assistant referee had seen the incident.
No action was taken by the match officials at the time but Kiernan could face a notice of complaint charge from Scottish FA compliance officer Tony McGlennan. Due to festive office schedules, any action against Kiernan would not be raised until Monday, leaving the 25-year-old free to play in tomorrow’s Old Firm clash with Celtic at Ibrox.
Warburton, however, has described Anderson’s version of events as “nonsensical” and is adamant Kiernan should not face any disciplinary action.
“It is a push in the stomach,” said Warburton who reviewed the TV footage of the incident yesterday. “I’ve heard it’s a physical assault and some other nonsensical comments.
“If you are doing [him for] that, then you are having judicial panels every week. I’ve seen him push in and push out. So, as I say, I’m bemused by some of the comments.
“His [Anderson’s] opinion is all part and parcel of the game. For me, it makes no sense. There is nothing to contest. As I say, if you are doing that, then there will be panels every day of the week.”
Kiernan’s availability on Saturday will be crucial for Warburton who faces significant defensive selection issues. Rangers captain Lee Wallace missed the draw at St Johnstone because of a hamstring problem, while centre-half Clint Hill limped off in the second half in Perth with a dead leg.
Warburton admits both players are major doubts to face Celtic but insists he has no fears over the quality of his back-up options, including Swiss defender Philippe Senderos who has made only one further appearance for Rangers since being sent off on his torrid debut for the club when they lost 5-1 to Celtic at Parkhead in September.
“Lee and Clint are both 50-50 at best,” said Warburton. “They are two senior players who have been outstanding for us, so we will leave it as long as
we can before making a decision.
“I have no qualms about any of the other players coming in. You can’t have a squad of players and then say ‘I can’t use him, I don’t trust him’. If I have to use Philippe, or Danny Wilson, or Lee Hodson, or even Andy Halliday at left back, no problem. I don’t mind that. You have got to trust the squad. If you have no trust in the squad, then forget the whole situation.”