Steven Gerrard says ‘brave and honest’ Brian Rice doesn’t deserved to be punished for gambling

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard hopes clemency will be shown to Brian Rice after the Hamilton head coach reported himself for breaching the Scottish FA’s rules on betting.

Hamilton manager Brian Rice. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS

Rice, who has past struggles with gambling addiction, submitted a letter to the governing body this week acknowledging a series of infractions – believed to cover hundreds of games in the past four years, though none in the form of bets against teams he has coached – as “an admission that my disease has returned in order to commit to my recovery”.

Gerrard believes that such courage is a mark of a man who he believes warrants help rather than condemnation.

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“I hope it’s the case that he gets the right support and people rally round him because I think he deserves that,” said Gerrard. “I don’t like to see anyone getting punished, really, in football. But I don’t control that or make the decision so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. If there are other people doing it, I’m sure they will be looking at Brian and thinking how brave and honest he has been. I’ve got nothing but admiration and respect for that.

“But I don’t just admire Brian for that. It’s because of the conversations we’ve had. Since I came up to Scotland, he has been nothing but a gentleman. He is someone who has been around my position of coaching and management for a lot longer than I have. So there is nothing but respect.

“Gary Mac [Rangers assistant Gary McAllister] loves the guy. I can see why because every time I have been in his company he has been fantastic. All I can say is that everyone at Rangers is thinking of him.”