Steven Gerrard said referees were failing to “protect” his players after claiming official Greg Aitken did not deal with strong-arm tactics from Kilmarnock in the 1-1 draw at Ibrox.
Four Kilmarnock players were booked yesterday but Gerrard claimed the tally did not reflect the illegal means by which Steve Clarke’s men sought to nullify their opponents. Although the Rangers manager did acknowledge that his own defender, Connor Goldson, was “lucky” to escape a red card for taking out Liam Millar in added time.
“We don’t expect anything from referees. We just continue to try and do the right things, continue to play, create and do enough to win football matches,” Gerrard said. “I’m not sure how many yellow cards there were today, but it could have been eight or nine, and the same people who got booked were constantly fouling, and they weren’t even fouls, they were wiping out my players.
“We don’t feel as if we are getting enough protection at the moment, that’s for sure. Maybe we were lucky [with the Goldson challenge] but maybe Connor thinks he can do that because they have done it eight or nine times and the referee has done nothing about it. We may have been lucky [there] but Steve Clarke could have been lucky five or six times.
“There are fouls which are fine, sometimes I know you have to make a foul. But there is a difference between a foul and dangerous tackles and I thought there were a lot of dangerous tackles out there.”
In the game’s other flashpoint, Alfredo Morelos seemed to lash out at Kirk Broadfoot after the defender appeared to kick out at him as the players made their way to the tunnel at the interval. Gerrard, pictured, missed the incident but Clarke said that he had reviewed it afterwards.
“I’ve seen it back on video, there was definitely something happened,” said the Kilmarnock manager. “We’ll let the people who look at the video decide.”
And Clarke homed in on Goldson’s late challenge as the most serious moment of transgression in responding to Gerrard presenting his side as cloggers.
“We were competitive, start to finish. No more,” Clarke said. “It was a tricky surface, very wet, but we were competitive, that was all.
“The referee ran the game as he saw fit, and if there was going to be a red card, it would have been for Rangers. It would have been for the tackle by Goldson on Millar as he’s going through on goal, a chance to get a shot away. But the ref chose to give yellow and we accept that.”