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Gerrard and Kent hit with suspensions

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

By Gavin McCafferty

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and winger Ryan Kent will both serve suspensions against Motherwell on Sunday after their derby defeat by Celtic sparked a string of Scottish Football Association disciplinary charges.

Celtic vowed to “vigorously defend” charges against captain Scott Brown and the club as the fallout over their 2-1 victory over Rangers continued.

Rangers have also received a charge, while Gerrard accepted a one-match touchline ban for misconduct and Kent saw a two-game ban for striking Brown upheld following a tribunal hearing.

Gerrard is understood to have received the charge for post-match comments made to referee Bobby Madden, who sent off Gers striker Alfredo Morelos during the game and left-back Andy Halliday afterwards.

Brown has been accused of breaching a rule which states players, coaches and officials should "act in the best interests of association football". Rule 77 also references "improper" behaviour and using "threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour" and carries a minimum two-match suspension for players.

Both clubs were hit with a charge over confrontations involving three or more players, which usually carries a fine.

Players and staff, as well as stewards, were involved in a melee after Halliday remonstrated with Brown over his post-match celebrations, which are believed to be the cause of his charge.

The 33-year-old raised both arms aloft in the direction of the away supporters after his side moved 13 points clear of their rivals to close in on an eighth consecutive title. Mobile phone footage from a supporter also showed the midfielder making a triumphant gesture with his arm while looking behind him after moving along the main stand touchline past Celtic supporters.

Halliday, Celtic defender Mikael Lustig and Rangers substitute goalkeeper Wes Foderingham all received yellow cards after the confrontation.

Kent had earlier knocked Brown to the ground with photographs showing his fist clenched but Gerrard argued the images had distorted reality.

Speaking before the hearing, Gerrard said: "We don't think it was violent conduct and we don't think it was in the face. It is easy in hindsight to look at pictures which look worse than they are.

"I have known Ryan since he was eight, nine years of age, he hasn't got a violent bone in his body. He has never been involved in something like this before.

"I think Ryan was merely pushing him away to get him out of his face after being provoked."

A three-strong panel disagreed. Brown and both clubs have until Wednesday to respond to their charges with hearings pencilled in for May 2.

Hearts and Aberdeen have also received notices of complaint from the SFA.

Each club had two players booked after Dominic Ball's foul on Hearts wing-back Jake Mulraney sparked angry scenes during the hosts' 2-1 win at Tynecastle on Saturday. Their cases will be heard on April 25.

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