Gerrard: We need better protection from refs
Gers boss hits out over head injuries ahead of Livi clash
STEVEN GERRARD believes referees must do more to protect players from serious head injuries as Rangers prepare for their return to Livingston this weekend.
The Ibrox manager was furious earlier in the season when midfielder Joe Aribo had to receive 20 stitches in a nasty head wound after being caught by Ricki Lamie.
Gerrard said: “Look, we know all about Livingston’s strengths and weaknesses and how they like to play and we will be ready for that challenge. The last game was an eye-opener because the physios were on for head injuries four, five times in the first half.
“All we ask is that across the board, that the referee protects both teams.”
STEVEN GERRARD believes referees must do more to protect players from serious head injuries as Rangers prepare for their return to Livingston this weekend. The Ibrox manager was furious earlier in the season when midfielder Joe Aribo had to receive 20 stitches in a nasty head wound after being caught by Ricki Lamie. Gerrard didn’t place any blame on Lamie but he was upset with performance of whistler Don Robertson as a number of robust challenges went unpunished. Rangers are back at the Tony Macaroni Arena tomorrow and Gerrard is expecting another physical encounter this time out. Gerrard said: “Look, we know all about Livingston’s strengths and weaknesses and how they like to play and we will be ready for that challenge. The last game was an eye-opener because the physios were on for head injuries four, five times in the first half. “There is a lot going on in the media at the moment about head injuries, so all we ask is that across the board, and for both teams, 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. 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. “For both teams, in any game in this league. The way that concussion works and head injuries, it is across the board in this league. “One of the things we can improve is the protection of players when it comes to this type of stuff.”
DUNDEE UNITED got their weekend off to a swinging start with a comfortable dismantling of Dundee at Dens Park last night. A second-half penalty from Nicky Clark and Lawrence Shankland’s 20th goal of the season was enough to put United nine points clear of their Tayside rivals and six points clear of second placed Ayr. The Somerset Park side can cut the gap this afternoon when they play Queen of the South. Despite the dominate nature of the second-half display – Shankland was denied a goal by the woodwork in the latter stages while Conor Hazard a fine save in the latter stages too – United manager Robbie Nielson has insisted that his players cannot be swayed by the lead they hold at the top of the Championship. “Everyone is happy at the moment but we have to win again next week – that’s the pressure of being at Dundee United,” said Nielson, whose side face Queen of the South next weekend. “I thought we did very well in the second half. The first half was quite even but in the second half we were more comfortable.” United will play that game next weekend with talismanic striker Shankland. The forward will be involved with Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad, a measure of just how prolific the 24-year-old has been. There had been little to write home about in a drab opening half but there was much more menace about United after the restart. The penalty came when Liam Smith was clattered by Declan McDaid as he went to get a cross into the box with referee Steven McLean pointing to the spot immediately. Clark sent Hazard the wrong way and from there on in there seemed little way back into the game for Dundee. Dens manager James McPake had no complaints about the spotkick but couldn’t hide his irritation at the cheapness with which his side conceded. “You have to make the right decisions, we steamed into a tackle and gifted Dundee United the opportunity to take the lead,” he lamented. “For the second we gave the ball away cheaply and it was another goal where they didn’t have to work hard enough. This is going to be another sore weekend. “We have another few weeks until our next game so we have to get back to working on the training ground. But if you give away goals like that it’s difficult to win football matches.” By the time the second goal followed the visitors had a firm grip of the affair. Shankland’s confidence showed as the striker netted with some conviction. Nelson slept as the striker, who netted for his country last month, ghosted in at his shoulder and picked up on the sloppy touch. The United forward advanced with menace, shrugging off the challenge from Jordan McGhee before dispatching the ball through the legs of the advancing Jordan Forster as it made its way into the back of the net. There could have been more. Paul McMullan was denied a goal after a fine save from Hazard while Shankland watched an effort come off the post in the final minutes.
Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland scores to make it 2-0 at Dens Park last night. Picture: SNS