Gerrard sees red but Rangers continue to march to title

Steven Gerrard faces an Old Firm sweat after being sent off for launching a furious rant against referee John Beaton in Rangers’ 1-0 win at Livingston.

The Light Blues boss entered the Tony Macaroni Arena pitch at half-time to complain after seeing Alfredo Morelos booked for a dive after he had clearly been fouled in the box just before the pause.

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Gerrard’s temper earned him two yellow cards as he raged against the official – who gave out seven yellows during a cranky affair – “You fucked up the wrong thing. You’re completely off duty. . “

The case does not fall under the Scottish Football Association’s fast-track procedures, so there is no deadline set for Hampden’s disciplinary heads to decide on the length of a sanction to be imposed.

But with the Rangers potentially set for a Premiership title party when they travel to Celtic Park on March 21, Gerrard could be forced to watch the celebrations from the podium if his case is decided early.

It was from his second-half perch in Livi’s main stand that he beat Morelos in the 87th minute as the Colombian sent Rangers back to two title wins – and Livi was ill again just three days later. his loss in the Betfred Cup final.

The league race could still be settled ahead of the derby anyway if Rangers win at home against St Mirren on Saturday and Celtic fail to secure a win at Dundee United the next day.

Lions boss David Martindale cooled the squad and left a heartbroken as Hampden replaced loaner Rangers goalie Robby McCrorie, with Jack Fitzwater, Craig Sibbald and Gavin Reilly returning.

Nathan Patterson – who still has a hefty ban looming over his Covid-19 violation – came on to make his first league start after the Europa League exploits last week against Royal Antwerp while Scott Arfield was kick off for the first time since mid-December.

Livi’s plastic pitch certainly didn’t help the show early on, with the action between a streak of scoreless heads and high, tucked passes.

Filip Helander came close to the first goal on the half hour as he met Borna Barisic’s corner, with his header crawling just above the bar.

The fight went off without incident until Beaton stepped in eight minutes before the break.

Morelos hit the bridge as he passed Stryjek while chasing Steven Davis’ sublime ball over it.

Beaton watched for a moment to point to the spot before changing his mind and reaching for the top pocket to reserve Morelos.

Gerrard exploded on the sideline and had full rights as reruns showed Livi’s Polish goalkeeper made contact clearly by cutting off Morelos’ heel.

The Rangers had a decent claim for another penalty moments later as Joe Aribo sent Ryan Kent down the left. The winger’s cross was blocked, but only as far as Arfield, who squeezed wide just as Sibbald dove late.

Again Beaton looked away but couldn’t escape Gerrard’s gaze as the angry boss stepped onto the pitch to face the official at halftime.

A yellow card was not enough to stop his outburst and he spent the second half watching from the stands.

His mood wasn’t helped either by the sight of an offside flag rising just as Connor Goldson walked home on a Barisic free kick four minutes into the restart.

A block from Fitzwater then frustrated Kent as Aribo freed the ex-Liverpool player through the middle.

If the halftime burst hadn’t been explosive enough, Beaton was then forced to momentarily suspend action as a barrage of fireworks was unleashed outside the ground in the 55th. minute by Rangers fans saluting what they expect to be. the imminent arrival of the 55th club championship crown.

Once the beating ceased – and some debris that had rained on the pitch was removed – the action resumed with Morelos driving over a Glen Kamara pass but Stryjek was cleverly down to save.

Morelos took the wrong option with 15 minutes left as he sped through the goal when he had Kent and substitute Cedric Itten shouting for a cut.

However, his teammates didn’t complain with three minutes remaining as he scored his 14th goal of the season after Stryjek knocked down a Davis shot at his feet.

About Christine Geisler

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