Steven Gerrard has revealed he has received an apology from Kyle Lafferty for the failure to follow “protocol” that now rules him out of Sunday’s clash with Hamilton.
The Northern Ireland striker has been barred from facing Accies by the Irish Football Association after his late withdrawal from Michael O’Neill’s squad ahead of last week’s double-header with Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Gerrard said: “It’s a shame (that he misses Sunday) because he’s a good player and he’s been in good form since he came in. But we respect and appreciate what’s gone on.
“He hasn’t followed the protocol and done the right thing so his punishment is that he can’t play on Sunday and any footballer doesn’t like missing games - I can assure you of that.
“I support him, of course I do. I always support my players 100 per cent. He’s come in, apologised for what’s gone on. We respect Northern Ireland for the punishment they’ve given him and we move on.
“There’s nothing else to add to it. We put a statement out yesterday which was very clear and now it’s an opportunity for someone else on Sunday.”
The statement Gers’ released on Thursday said Lafferty remains available for his country but Gerrard admits the former Burnley, Norwich and Hearts ace will have to thrash out whether he still has an international future with O’Neill.
“That’s none of my business to be brutally honest,” he said. “It’s between Michael and Kyle to sort out.
“I hope he continues because I still think he’s got a lot to offer the international scene when I watch him for Northern Ireland. He looks passionate, he looks like he loves it.
“He’s made it clear he wants to continue to play and be available but that’s a conversation between himself and Michael that he will have to thrash out.”