BBC respond to Robertson’s remarks
BBC Scotland have defended their coverage of Rangers following stinging criticism from the club’s managing director Stewart Robertson.
In an interview with Ranges TV, he accused the broadcaster of spending an “inordinate” amount of time reviewing incidents involving the Ibrox side and claimed they “vilified” Alfredo Morelos in the aftermath of the win over Celtic at the end of 2018.
He said: “We understand incidents are highlighted from all sorts of sources. The correlation with Sportscene is obviously very high.
“We, as a club, have our own issues with the BBC Scotland. BBC have refused to attend Ibrox since November 2015 - and the dispute has gone on much longer than that.
“They recently asked to come to Ibrox, but only to cover the matches. They would not be interviewing our manager and our players.
“Now, if they are treating us differently in that respect, are there other areas where they are also treating Rangers differently in terms of the incidents which we are seeing being highlighted at the weekend?
“You only have to look at the Alfredo Morelos incident in the Old Firm game, where they seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time examining Alfredo’s actions, but at no time at all did they look at any other actions from that game with the same scrutiny.
“Morelos was then effectively vilified for three weeks on various BBC platforms. So you have to question if they are treating us differently - they have confirmed in writing that they are treating us differently from every other Premiership club - where else are they treating us differently?”
Robertson asked that the club be treated “fairly, in a balanced way and in an accurate way.”
The BBC responded on Tuesday morning with a statement.
“The central part of this dispute is that Rangers is continuing to operate an exceptional ban of one of our journalists,” it read.
“We have offered to return to Ibrox to provide commentary, as per our contracted rights, while we try to find a permanent solution to the overall dispute, but Rangers have said this is unacceptable.
“Our coverage, including analysis and comment, is editorially fair.
“We will continue to speak to both Rangers and the SPFL about the situation as we believe it’s in the best interest of our audiences to restore the ability to bring commentaries from all SPFL grounds.”
Gerrard backs club’s stance
Steven Gerrard threw his support behind the club’s stance with BBC Scotland.
He said: “I‘m totally behind the managing director and the statement. The board are handling it and I trust them on it.”
Morelos to face Kilmarnock
Alfredo Morelos will return to the Rangers side on Wednesday to face Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup fifth-round replay.
The Colombian has missed the last two matches, goalless draws with Killie in the cup and St Johnstone on Saturday.
Gerrard is looking forward to welcoming back his talisman having witnessed his side struggle to break down opponents without him.
He said: “On the evidence of yesterday’s training, Alfredo can’t wait to get back out there. You always miss Morelos in the incredible form he is in.”
Gerrard’s praise for Ryan Jack
If Steven Gerrard selects Ryan Jack to face Kilmarnock he will do so in the knowledge that his midfielder won’t be 100 per cent.
The 26-year-old twisted an ankle in the previous clash with Killie and is a major doubt for the replay.
Yet, Gerrard would still be tempted to play him even if he was not fully fit.
He said: “Ryan Jack is still a big doubt but he will do some work today. He won’t do the full session but he will do some work then we’ll assess him after that.
“I’d play Ryan if he wasn’t 100 per cent but I wouldn’t risk him in terms of his body and creating further damage and have a longer period out.
“However, if Jacko says to me, ‘I’m not perfect but I’m prepared to have a go’, then he’s certainly one I’d probably go with because he’s a winner and a fighter and someone I trust out there.”
Fellow midfielder Scott Arfield is more likely to be involved having missed the St Johnstone match with two dead legs.
“Scotty Arfield will train this morning so we’re hoping he will come through and be available,” Gerrard said.
Criticism of players warranted, says Gerrard
Rangers player were on the end of stinging criticism from manager Steven Gerrard following their 0-0 draw with St Johnstone on Saturday.
The Ibrox boss said he couldn’t find any positives from the home stalemate and told his players to forget about titles and closing the gap to Celtic.
Gerrard defended his comments on Tuesday, stressing the standards required at the club, but noted the admiration for hsi players.
“The players were very frustrated after Saturday, they know when they are not at it, they knew before I came into the dressing room that they let themselves down. We have been honest with each other and they know where they let themselves down.
“The week’s training heading into St Johnstone I didn’t see the team with the right mentality, I saw a bit of ego before that match. This doesn’t happen very often, we are usually strong. I have told the players in a very honest way that is not acceptable at Rangers.
I” don’t think I was brutal, I was honest. Maybe I put it across in a more obvious way but I’m not going to lie to them. The reaction shouldn’t be for me it should be for the 49,000 inside Ibrox.
“I love my players to bits, they have gone to places for me and the fans that was above and beyond but there have to be times when you have to tell players certain thing. It can hurt the player in the short-term but will benefit them going forward.
W”e need to go back to our standards, at the weekend I didn’t see a proper Rangers team with the right mentality.
He added: “I see anyone thinking they can just walk into the team I will have words. I have done it myself, had a dip in form and went into cruise control, it’s my job to spot it. We have players desperate for success but we are inexperienced in terms of winning.”
Steven Gerrard provided an update on Graham Dorrans. The midfielder hasn’t played since September.
He said: “Dorrans had a setback a couple of weeks ago after doing really well, we hope it won’t be too long. He will go through a process building up to playing with the team. It’s very difficult at the moment to give a time. It’s very frustrating for us and for him.
“Sometimes you get an unlucky setback, he was on the way from his knee injury and caught one on his toe. It happens in football. Being out is the worst part of being a footballer, watching your teammates on a daily basis.”