Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says he has no complaints about Alfredo Morelos’ two yellow cards in his side’s 2-0 win at Motherwell but he believes referee Don Robertson was keen to send a player off.
Nikola Katic had already put the visitors in front at Fir Park when Morelos scored his 27th goal of the season but the Colombian, already booked for an earlier challenge, was shown yellow and then red for gesturing to the Motherwell support while celebrating.
Morelos’s disciplinary record had brought the striker criticism last season but Gerrard had been happy to see the player cut out the flashpoints that saw him draw attention from referees previously.
The Rangers boss said it was a setback but was also critical of the match official’s approach to the game.
“It’s the first setback Alfredo’s had after huge, huge improvements so we’ll reset that but we certainly have no complaints,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the supporters and his team-mates will suffer because he’s not available for the next game.
“There had been a bit of a commotion at half-time between both sets of players, although there wasn’t much in it.
“However, when I saw the referee book Ryan Jack and Declan Gallagher before the start of the second half (for their part in it), I thought that he was waiting for a moment.
“As I said, we have no complaints about the red card but I felt he was desperate to give out a red card today. I had that feeling from the side, which is unfortunate because our player does get that type of abuse.
“Alfredo was unplayable. It is a setback today, he knows that, we know that. I’m sure he hates getting punished in the pocket so hopefully he will get back on the horse and continue to improve in that area.”
Gerrard also revealed that he had feared a second yellow card and had been preparing Jermain Defoe to replace Morelos.
He said: “We tried to take him off, for a couple of reasons – because he was already on a yellow but also because we were flashing balls across the six-yard box and I felt that someone with a bit of nous and experience would have had a tap-in today.
“Jermain might have been that person but I couldn’t get him on before the red card came out.
“But the result is exactly what I was looking for – a strong, solid away win. We were fantastic defensively and had a good base and structure about us.”
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson said that his side were not affected by the news that he had been arrested following a disturbance in Edinburgh on Friday.
“It had no effect whatsoever,” he said. “We were off on Friday but we trained on Saturday and I was there. So not at all.
“I don’t think I need to say anything about that at the moment.
“The result is disappointing as we knew we needed 11 players to be at the top of their game and we had five or six below par.
“In saying that, we should have been 1-1 if not for an incredible save from Allan McGregor.
“We were on top at that stage but when you get denied from a yard out by a save of that quality, you do tend to think it’s not going to be your day.”