‘We can’t have nine red cards in a season’ - Rangers vow to tackle costly indiscipline

Rangers’ assistant manager Gary McAllister has admitted that a lack of discipline from their squad has been a problem throughout he and Steven Gerrard’s first trophy-less season at Ibrox and stressed that their players must learn to curb their temper if they are to enjoy any success in 2019-20.

Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

McAllister concedes that Rangers have lost out partly because of needless red and yellow cards, a self-inflicted wound which has troubled them from the opening day of the Premiership campaign when repeat offender Alfredo Morelos was ordered off for kicking out at Scott McKenna during a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

That was rescinded to a yellow card on appeal but the Colombian striker was then dismissed twice more against the Dons and once apiece against FC Ufa and Celtic, with the last one coming just 38 minutes into a must-win game for elbowing Celtic captain Scott Brown in the face.

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In total, Rangers players have been dismissed 12 times either during or at the end of matches in the current campaign (including three in the Europa League), while goalkeeper Allan McGregor and winger Ryan Kent have also received retrospective red cards for lashing out at opponents. The cumulative damage caused can be encapsulated in the 1-0 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat by Aberdeen at Hampden in December, a match in which Gerrard was forced to field a team minus Morelos and Scott Arfield – the club’s two leading goalscorers from open play – because both were suspended.

Some people within Ibrox claim, with some justification, that rival players go out of their way to goad Morelos.

McAllister recognises the damage done but insists that players sitting in the stand are of no use to him or Gerrard.

“We can’t have nine red cards in a season – that is far too many and we are well aware of that,” said the Rangers assistant manager.

“The discipline has to change because it has cost us on certain occasions. The fact that we have missed key players at key moments isn’t good.

“Allan McGregor made two great saves against Hibs last weekend but we come away from that match talking about something else [the red card he received for kicking Hibernian striker Marc McNulty in the back].

“Yet he’s in the [PFA Scotland] Team of the Year because of how good he has been.”

McGregor is suspended for Sunday’s match with Celtic at Ibrox.