Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has warned the officials ahead of the Ibrox side’s game against Livingston on Sunday that they have a duty of care to adequately protect his players.
Gerrard is still reeling from a robust encounter when the teams met in the League Cup in September. Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo was pictured with blood pouring from a gaping head injury after a clash in which Livingston’s Ricki Lamie appeared to have led with an elbow. Aribo required 20 stitches, with Gerrard insisting in the game’s aftermath that there was no ambiguity about the incident. His wrath has not diluted in the ensuing weeks and he has reminded the officials that they have a responsibility to protect the players on the pitch.
“There is a lot going on in the media at the moment about head injuries, so all we ask across the board is that the referee protects both teams and people are not going off the pitch with 20 stitches in their head because people are leading with their arm,” said Gerrard.
“We expect a certain level of protection. That is not to take away from what Livingston are trying to do because we accept the fact that that is their style, we respect that. It is none of our business how they play. But when our players are going down with stitches in their nose and 20 stitches across their head, it is my job to protect the players.”