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Rangers boss Gerrard wants ‘severe example’ to be made of missile throwers

Gers defender Borna Barisic was almost hit by a glass bottle during Friday’s match at Hibernian.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard wants an example to be made of trouble-makers (Steve Welsh/PA)
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard wants an example to be made of trouble-makers (Steve Welsh/PA)

By Andy Newport, PA

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard fears the trouble on the terraces will only get worse unless a “severe” example is made of the missile throwers putting players in the firing line.

Gers left-back Borna Barisic narrowly escaped a potentially serious injury during Friday night’s win at Hibernian when a glass bottle was hurled at him from the Easter Road stands.

It is not the first time fans based in the stadium’s East Stand have hit the headlines.

Gers skipper James Tavernier was confronted by a pitch invader in March, just a week after Celtic winger Scott Sinclair was also targeted with a glass bottle.

And Gerrard believes the failure to stamp out those incidents has only encouraged others to follow suit.

He said: “Only action from the clubs will help or stop it in the long run.

“We can’t just talk about it in the media. There’s got to be serious actions taken. The individuals need to be identified because I do believe it’s a minority.

“They need to be punished and punished heavily so it stops other people trying to do it in the future.

“It’s a crazy decision to throw a bottle onto a football pitch. The damage you could do is unthinkable.

“It’s very disappointing to see that but I’m sure Hibs will deal with that. It’s something for Jack Ross and Hibs to deal with as a club rather than us.

“We again just send a message to our own fans to make sure they behave.

“If the punishment isn’t severe enough then people will continue to make bad decisions from the terraces.

“There needs to be an example set – a severe one – and then that will make people think and things will improve. But it does seem like we’re going backwards rather than forwards.

“It goes quiet for a little while and it seems like people are listening. Us and managers and players will keep saying the right things but the fans have to take responsibility for their actions when they go to the game. They need to concentrate on watching the football rather than misbehaving.”

Gers were under pressure to take all three points on offer in the capital as they look to keep tabs with Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic.

The Hoops have a five point advantage – albeit having played a game more – but Gerrard’s team can look to cut that back when they travel to Parkhead on Sunday.

But before they can think about the Old Firm battle, Gers must take care of Kilmarnock at home on Boxing Day.

Alex Dyer will again be the man in the away dug-out following Angelo Alessio’s sacking but Gerrard reckons it may as well be former boss Steve Clarke.

“You try and put yourself in the Kilmarnock camp if you like and wonder what type of reaction they’ll give or what they might try to change.

“I predict that they might go back to the style that got them a lot of success under Steve Clarke.

“The caretaker manager knows him really well, works with Steve at Scotland so you’d assume they’ll go back to his style.

“For us, that style deserves respect because it’s a very organised shape which is difficult to play against. They have some good players on the counter-attack too.

“But who knows? We might be surprised.

“It is (easy to focus on Kilmarnock) for me and it should be for the players because Kilmarnock is a very important game.

“It’s only normal that with an Old Firm on the horizon, other people want to make headlines and mischief for both sides.
“That’s pretty normal.

“But I don’t think you’ll see any players or myself allowing our minds to wander anywhere else but Kilmarnock.”

PA

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