Steven Gerrard: Elite football shouldn’t have plastic pitches

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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard called for plastic pitches to be outlawed in top-flight football after seeing Jamie Murphy carried off at Rugby Park.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard looks on as Jamie Murphy is stretchered off. Picture: SNS

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard looks on as Jamie Murphy is stretchered off. Picture: SNS

The Ibrox winger crumpled to the synthetic turf early in Gers’ 3-1 Betfred Cup win over Kilmarnock.

His left knee appeared to twist and buckle on the artificial grass and while Gerrard was careful not to point the finger of blame at the pitch, he made it clear his belief that 4G surfaces have no place in the top level of the game.

Gerrard - who saw Alfredo Morelos smash a hat-trick against Killie - admits he may be forced to alter his transfer plans if his Murphy’s injury rules him out long-term, but for now is only concern is for the 28-year-old.

“Jamie’s sad, he’s upset, I think he’s fearing the worst,” he said. “We’re devastated.

“That’s the only downer for us today. We’re going away on the back of a fantastic victory but it’s come at a cost because Jamie looks like he’ll be missing for quite a while.

“We’ll get him checked out, we hope it’s not as bad as we’re first fearing.

“It’s difficult for me to comment on (whether the pitch is to blame). We all know that plastic pitches are not as safe as grass.

“But I’m not here to disrespect Kilmarnock and their playing facilities. I know it helps support the running of their football club.

“But my opinion is elite football shouldn’t have any plastic pitches.”

Murphy is not the first Gers player to suffer on Killie’s pitch. Former Light Blues forward Martyn Waghorn was ruled out for two months after he was left with “abrasions” during a clash back in February 2016.

Gerrard added: “We’re dealing with elite footballers, who earn an awful lot of money, and I think for every club worldwide it’s safer to have a grass pitch.

“We’ll have to wait and see. I think if you ask Jamie right now he’ll say it was a pitch incident.

“I don’t think it’s the first time Rangers have had that type of injury here, I think Waghorn suffered a couple of years back.

“But look, let’s just wait and see. I don’t want to dive in too quick, we’ll wait and see what the examinations say but we’re all fearing the worst.”

Bordeaux-target Morelos fired his first Rangers hat-trick as the Light Blues booked a quarter-final home date with Ayr.

Killie had made it 2-1 shortly after half-time with a Borna Barisic own goal but Gerrard was delighted with his side, saying: “We were excellent again today. Kilmarnock away was always going to be a tricky tie for us, especially coming to a difficult surface on the back of an away game in Europe.

“Alfredo’s so important for us, he’s out talisman, he’s our top goalscorer. We love him, I love working with him, I want to keep him. He deserves a new deal and I want him to stay.”

Killie boss Steve Clarke said: “We had chances to be in front, we hit the bar twice and their keeper made an unbelievable save.

“I thought we played well, with one little caveat. We didn’t defend too well in some instances.”

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