Steven Gerrard has stressed it is down to Hibs to sort out crowd control problems after a bottle nearly hit left-back Borna Barisic as he received treatment during Rangers’ comfortable win over their hosts last night.
The Rangers manager saw right-back James Tavernier attacked by a fan during a game last season at the same ground. Celtic’s Scott Sinclair was nearly struck by a bottle during a Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road in March.
The latest incident followed a rash challenge by Hibs defender Ryan Porteous, which earned him a straight red card. He is now suspended from the Edinburgh derby on Boxing Day. Tempers then flared in both dugouts. Rangers technical coach Tom Culshaw was red carded, as was Hibs assistant manager John Potter.
“I think both benches won’t be proud of seeing that back,” said Gerrard. “That’s not what it’s all about. We need to control emotions better.
“It was straight red card,” he added. “We were disappointed with Hibs trying to defend that. You see it could see from a hundred metres away.” Gerrard was asked about the bottle hurled on to the pitch as Barisic was receiving treatment in front of the east stand.
“Bottles, lighters, all kind of objects,” he pointed out. “It’s not my business. It is down to Hibs to deal with that.
“We don’t want to see that in any stadium. We want players to be safe and we want fans to be safe. We spoke to our players on numerous occasions and told them to keep their cool in this situation. I am very pleased with their behaviour.”
Hibs issued a statement last night condemning the actions of fans who threw objects on to the pitch. “We are naturally disappointed at the actions of a few, particularly as we appealed for supporters to behave responsibly on the eve of the game.
“We invested significantly in enhanced CCTV systems and we’ll review footage from all of the sections concerned to identify any individual involved in unacceptable conduct.”
Manager Jack Ross also spoke out about individuals who resorted to such behaviour. “One thing I would say as a human being rather than a football manager I cannot quite get my head around why anyone would make the decision to throw a glass bottle at another human being, I just can’t understand it,” he said.
Gerrard said he knew people were waiting for his team to fail given the suspended Alfredo Morelos’ absence. However, Jermain Defoe stepped in to lead the line and scored Rangers’ third with a well-executed finish nine minutes after half time. “He is not going to be around much longer, another couple of years probably, but we all need to admire that forward play,” said the Rangers manager.
“The first touch was top, the second touch was world class and the third was all about Defoe. You guys had your pencils ready to write they can’t cope without Morelos. But the players put in a performance that makes you write about them rather than Alfredo.”