Scott Arfield’s red card for Rangers during the 2-1 win at Hearts on Sunday was Rangers’ seventh of the season. Joel Sked looks at how many of the sending offs were deserved.
Alfredo Morelos v Aberdeen
Morelos was sent off for aiming a kick at Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna after being barged twice by the centre-back. It was a decision which elicited strong debate.
For the kick to be deemed violent conduct which would result in a red card it would have to be “excessive force or brutality”. There were those that made the argument that it was a kick and therefore the mere nature of the action has “brutality”.
On the other side there were those that saw it as more of a flick out without “excessive force”.
Verdict: It is easy to understand why the officials came to the conclusion that it was a sending off offence. Yet, it was successfully appealed.
Ross McCrorie v St Mirren
Some slack play in the Rangers midfield was pounced upon by the visitors with Stephen McGinn playing in Nikolai Brock-Madsen. McCrorie despairingly slid in, getting nowhere near the ball and bringing the forward down on the edge of the box.
The Dane was denied a goalscoring opportunity.
Verdict: Correct call.
Alfredo Morelos v Ufa
The Colombian came under a fair amount of pressure following his latest needless red card. Just over three weeks since he was sent off at Aberdeen he again left the team in the lurch in Russia, picking up two bookings within a matter of seconds.
The first was for kicking the ball away after he disagreed with the referee’s decision to penalise him for a foul on the halfway line. He continued to remonstrate with the official, including a dismissive gesture, and was shown a second yellow card.
Verdict: He can have little complaint.
Jon Flanagan v Ufa
No complaints about the first yellow card. The full-back dallied on the ball and felled the player who was advancing towards goal.
The second was more debatable. Flanagan contested an aerial challenge and won the ball. But he led with his elbow even if he didn’t make much contact.
Verdict: The second yellow card was a challenge which looked worse on first viewing and he may have got away with it in domestic football but there is reasoning behind the decision.
Daniel Candeias v St Mirren
Willie Collum came under severe pressure from Rangers following the decision to send off Candeias. The winger was correctly booked following his opening goal in the 2-0 win as he left the field of play to celebrate with fans.
It was the second caution which provoked outcry from Rangers. Much to his disbelief, Candeias was shown a red card in the aftermath of Morelos’ goal. It seemed the player was involved in an altercation with St Mirren defender Anton Ferdinand.
Rangers had an appeal on grounds of mistaken identity rejected by the SFA who confirmed the player was booked for unsporting behaviour for gesturing and blowing kisses towards Ferdinand.
Verdict: While the gesturing to an opposition player can be deemed as unsporting behaviour, it was incredibly pernickety by Collum and one Rangers were right to feel aggrieved about.
Daniel Candeias v Villarreal
For the second time in November the Portuguese winger was harshly sent off, and for the second time it is hard to argue with the first yellow.
Candeias was late with his challenge, something which is more likely to be punished with a caution on the European stage.
The second booking, however, was wrong. The 30-year-old was one of three players who went to challenge Santiago Caseres. It was Morelos who committed the foul, while Candeias’ momentum took him into the Villarreal midfielder and prompted a tangle of legs.
Slovenia referee Matej Jug appeared very reactionary with his yellow card.
Verdict: Candeias did not deserve the second yellow card and a more composed referee wouldn unlikely have booked him.
Scott Arfield v Hearts
Perhaps the most stick-on red card which will be issued in Scotland this year. Even the most ardent Rangers fan would have to hold their hands up and accept Arfield’s sending off.
The midfielder needlessly, and ludicrously, lunged in at Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal who was in control of the ball. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what was going through the player’s head. It was reminiscent of a child who just wanted to slide on the wet grass or Callum Paterson’s bizarre celebration for Cardiff City on Friday.
Gerrard said he had “no complaints”.
Verdict: Correct call.