‘Joe Aribo challenge would have been a red card in any other league in world’ - Steven Gerrard

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has called for Scottish referees to give players more protection following the incident which left his midfielder Joe Aribo with 20 stitches in a head wound.

Joe Aribo needed 20 stitches in a head would. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Nigerian international Aribo suffered the injury in an aerial challenge with Ricki Lamie during Rangers’ 1-0 Betfred Cup quarter-final win at Livingston on Wednesday.

Lamie caught Aribo on the forehead with a leading arm but the Livingston player was not punished by referee Don Robertson. Gerrard claims the incident would have resulted in a red card for Lamie had it happened in any other country.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Aribo now faces a spell on the sidelines which could see him miss domestic and European action for Rangers along with Nigeria’s matches against 
Brazil and Togo next month. Gerrard says he has happily embraced the traditional physicality of Scottish football since moving to Rangers last year but is concerned that dangerous play is going unpunished too often.

“There are two sides to it,” he said. “It adds to the excitement up here at times. We don’t want the game to be stop-start, ruining the tempo and excitement for the supporters.

“I’m one for physicality if it is channelled in the right way. It’s what I believe in. The game is more exciting if it’s intense and people are being fair and tough. I’m all for that. But at the same time, all I ask for is protection across the board. Not just for my team – across the league and across the board. Players need more protection in terms of these incidents. If this was the other way round, I wouldn’t have liked or enjoyed seeing one of the Livingston players going off with 20 stitches. Not at all.

“Lamie hasn’t gone in to cause that injury. I’m

convinced of that. I’ve watched it back a lot of times. I’ve been up here long enough to know certain players and if they have that nasty streak in them or not. There is no accusation here towards the player at all. But that’s a red card. In any other league in the world, that’s a red card.

“It’s not about intent, it’s about dangerous play. If I put my foot up in someone’s face or whatever, it’s not about me meaning to go and do that but it’s serious foul play, dangerous play, and it’s a red card.

“Joe Aribo won’t be available for our game against Aberdeen on Saturday and maybe some time after that as well. It’s a difficult one to put a timeframe on it because you don’t know how long it’s going to take to heal. But the cut has basically gone right through to the bone. He has had 20 stitches on it right after the game. It’s a real nasty one.

“It’s unfortunate because he’s obviously missed a big chunk of the game at Livingston, which he was excited to play in, and he will miss a big fixture at the weekend against Aberdeen. It could also affect him from an international point of view which would be a real shame. So I’m

gutted for him.”