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Club made guard of honour call, insists Gerrard

 

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

By Ronnie Esplin

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has refused to say whether he supports the club's decision not to give Celtic a guard of honour this weekend.

It is tradition for clubs facing the champions after a title has been won to produce a guard of honour but that won't happen at Ibrox on Sunday.

Neil Lennon's side won the Scottish Premiership last week with a 3-0 win over Aberdeen, putting them nine points ahead with two games to go.

Former Gers striker Kris Boyd argued that his former club should "do the right thing" and applaud Celtic onto the pitch, but Gerrard confirmed the club have rejected that idea.

"The club have made a decision on that and decided there won't be a guard of honour, so my thoughts are irrelevant," he said.

"I will follow what I'm told to do by the people in charge of the club."

Scotland midfielder Callum McGregor says the Hoops do not need their latest title win validated by a guard of honour from Rangers.

"I know it is a talking point but nobody has spoken about it," said the 25-year-old who helped the Hoops clinch their eighth successive title.

"Whatever they decide to do is fine. We will get on with it.

"We know we deserved to be champions and that's enough for us in that dressing room. We don't need anyone else to pat us on the back.

"We have done the hard yards and we have become the champions again, eight in a row, so for us, we are not too fussed whether they do it or don't do it.

"Come kick-off all the niceties will go out the window anyway and it will be a battle for 90 minutes, so we will be prepared for that."

Gerrard, meanwhile, says it is unlikely Rennes defender Edson Mexer will be leaving France to join his side this summer.

Gerrard was pictured with the 30-year-old Mozambique international in France last week, leading to reports which claimed he had offered the free agent terms to move to Ibrox this summer.

But the Light Blues manager said: “I think people are putting a lot of speculation out there.

“We are looking for centre-backs and Mexer is a good player who we admire but what I’m led to believe is that he’ll be playing his football in France next year.”

The Gers boss also revealed he had to sneak out of Anfield as his nerves threatened to give way while Liverpool’s comeback kings mounted their stunning rescue act against Barcelona.

Gerrard took daughter Lourdes back to his old stomping ground to watch Jurgen Klopp’s side recover a three-goal deficit as they swept into the Champions League final with a daring recovery.

“My nerves the other night at Anfield were difficult to control,” confessed Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League-winning skipper. “I had to leave before the end once it was 4-0. I had my seven-year-old daughter with me and I used that as an excuse to go, saying she had school the next day.

“But really it was more about my nerves — God knows what the players were going through. I don’t think I’d have been able to cope with seeing either Coutinho, Suarez or Messi break my heart. So I decided to beat the traffic and get out of there before it went wrong. The emotion and the passion I saw at Anfield is very similar to what you get at Ibrox.”

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