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Steven Gerrard: 'Rangers cannot defend Alfredo Morelos'

Steven Gerrard: 'Rangers cannot defend Alfredo Morelos'
© Reuters
The Colombia international will miss Scottish Premiership games against St Johnstone, Hamilton and Kilmarnock.

Steven Gerrard admits Rangers will not defend Alfredo Morelos after the striker was handed a three-game ban but the Gers  boss is looking for more consistency in the disciplinary process.

The Colombia international will miss Scottish Premiership games against St Johnstone, Hamilton and Kilmarnock after the Ibrox club opted not to challenge a Scottish Football Association notice of complaint for stamping on Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous.

The charge carries a two-game ban but the 24-year-old will serve one further match because it is his second such offence this season after being cited for a challenge on Dundee United defender Mark Connolly in December.

"I have looked at the incident a lot of times and I don't think there is a case for us to defend in this situation," said Gerrard, who revealed that defender Nikola Katic will miss the rest of the campaign with a knee injury which has kept him out all season.

"Having said that, it doesn't mean we are pleased with everything that happened in that game or has happened during this season or previous seasons.

"So it is something behind the scenes that myself and the board are working very hard on in terms of trying to find better solutions in terms of the disciplinary and the processes that go on.

"It is something we will continue to try to be a support to in terms of the authorities to try and make things better and more consistent.

"It is obviously disappointing from my point of view not to have Alfredo available, it is what it is and my focus is on the players that are available."

Asked for a flavour of his concerns about the SFA's disciplinary process, Gerrard said: "Consistency. That is what every manager wants, a level of consistency for every player or every incident if you like, to be judged in the same way so we find that level of consistency,

"I think that will really help the league moving forward."

Ahead of the visit of St Johnstone on Wednesday night, Gerrard offered his prognosis on 24-year-old Croatia defender Katic who needed surgery on a torn ACL during pre-season training.

Leon Balogun was brought in as cover for Katic and Gerrard added defender Jack Simpson from Bournemouth on transfer deadline day – alongside Aberdeen winger Scott Wright – while defender George Edmundson moved to Derby on loan with centre-backs Connor Goldson and Filip Helander also in his way at Ibrox.

Looking ahead to the summer, Gerrard said: "I always like four, fit available centre-backs.

"The Katic situation is something we have to assess and analyse as we move forward.

"He's not going to be available this season which means he has missed a year's football so that could be one where we have to take our time in terms of getting him up to full speed.

"I am in regular contact with Niko but there are no guarantees that Niko is going to be available.

"It's an injury where you have to take your time and allow the injury to tell you when it is ready rather than pushing for a certain date. So there is no guarantees on Niko right now.

"George has gone out to play. He has had a frustrating year.

"Leon Balogun has played a certain amount of games and we have an option to explore (a new contract) in the coming weeks and months.

"We won't have six centre-halves next year, but in terms of which four we end up with, we will have to wait and see how we move along."

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Sunday's key events

· Wave conditions permitting, surfing will make its Olympic debut (11pm-8.20am)

· Another debutant sport at this Olympics, most eyes will be on American Nyjah Huston in the men's street contest as he looks to add Olympic gold to his four world titles and 12 X-Games golds. (12.30am-5am)

· History beckons for Jade Jones as she looks to become a three-time Olympic champion - something never done before in the sport prior to these Games (2am-1.45pm)
· Team GB's Bradly Sinden - world champion two years ago - is also going for gold in the men's -68kg category (2am-1.45pm)

· Already-legendary gymnast Simone Biles makes her first appearance of the Games in the women's qualifying event (2am-2pm)

· The first swimming medals of the Games will be dished out, with home favourite Daiya Seto going for gold in the men's 400m individual medley (2.30am-4.20am)

· Lizzie Deignan is among the Team GB team looking for success in the women's road race (5am-9.30am)

· Reigning two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray starts his title defence against Canadian hotshot Felix Auger-Aliassime (7am approx.)

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