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Gerrard fires behaviour warning to players



Warning: Steven Gerrard has told players to stay disciplined

Warning: Steven Gerrard has told players to stay disciplined

Warning: Steven Gerrard has told players to stay disciplined

Steven Gerrard has warned Rangers to be on their best behaviour as his players come under the watchful eye of VAR for the first time.

The video assistant referee system will be in use as Rangers host Braga in the last 32 of the Europa League tomorrow.

In UEFA competitions, VAR can be used to correct calls relating to goals, incidents in the penalty box, red cards and mistaken identity - but only when the referee has made a "clear and obvious mistake" on the field.

But Gerrard hopes his men will heed his warning and stay clear of such trouble.

He said: "We had a meeting a few weeks back when a couple of the Scottish referees came in and explained the rules of VAR and what the referees and UEFA are clamping down on.

"We've echoed that meeting to the players and made it nice and clear so the players are aware what to do and how to act in certain situations.

"It will be slightly different to what we're used to so everybody has to be ready for that experience, staff included.

"The most important thing that came out of the meeting was to keep playing. There are certain situations when a flag goes up or stays down. In normal situations you might stop or wait, so it's important we play to the end.

"It's important we don't use any gesture of VAR, crowd the referee or go towards the monitor. They've made it very clear they will act and dish out yellow cards.

"One thing for sure, we're going to have to be careful and make sure we behave and we're very disciplined over both legs."

Braga will have to wait until tonight to get their first glimpse of Ibrox after Rangers requested they did not train on a pitch that has taken a beating from the Scottish elements in recent weeks. The Light Blues' weekend clash with Livingston was pushed back 24 hours to Sunday and club bosses are keen to protect it from further damage.

Instead, Braga will be allowed to stage their final preparations at the hosts' Hummel Training Centre - but Gerrard insists there is no sinister motive behind the venue swap.

"For both teams, we want to have the pitch at Ibrox in the best shape it can be in," he said. "It's not a tactic from us. If the pitch was in great condition we'd be more than happy for Braga to use it."

Meanwhile, Rangers have been fined £10,000 over Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos' Old Firm gestures. The Ibrox club have also been hit with a further £5,000 punishment - £2,000 of it suspended - for failing to control their players during a stormy clash with Hibernian at Easter Road.

Kent and Morelos both escaped individual suspensions from the Scottish Football Association for their actions at Parkhead on December 29 as Rangers claimed a 2-1 derby win.

Instead, it was Rangers who were cited over the failure to ensure their players refrained from "conduct that may incite disorder".

Kent made an apparent gun gesture after putting Steven Gerrard's side ahead while Morelos was seen drawing his hand across his throat as he walked off following his stoppage-time red card.

Rangers vs Sporting Braga

Europa League Round of 32:

Ibrox, Tonight, 8pm

Belfast Telegraph