Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says his players and the assistant referee need to share responsibility for the 1-0 Scottish League Cup final defeat to Celtic on Sunday, but concedes officials need more help than they are getting.
Gerrard’s side were comfortably the more dominant throughout, carving out a host of clear opportunities and then missing a penalty through Alfredo Morelos just moments after Christopher Jullien’s goal for Celtic, who played much of the second half with 10 men.
Replays appeared to show Jullien in an offside position when he tucked home Ryan Christie’s free-kick, leaving Gerrard frustrated the goal was not ruled out, with VAR not yet introduced to Scottish football.
“Finals are normally decided on big moments and the big moments haven’t gone in our favour,” he told a media conference.
“We conceded from a set-piece, which we shouldn’t have given away. Once you concede it, you have to defend it better.
“There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR.
No word to describe that feeling pic.twitter.com/OxeYmosjbp
— Chris Jullien.. (@Chri6ViF) December 8, 2019
“I think it [VAR] has taken something away from the game, so I’d be a liar if I said I’m 100 per cent in favour of it.
“But one thing I do know is that the officials up here do need some support and help because there are too many things, not just for our club but across the board, that they maybe miss and need a bit of support on.
“I’m not the type of person who blames or look for excuses. The big moments have gone against us today; we are all responsible for that.
“But the reality is, at the top end of football, you expect the linesman to get one of them right from the three who were in an offside position.”
Many were surprised to see Morelos take the crucial spot-kick ahead of regular taker James Tavernier, but Gerrard was quick to dismiss suggestions his captain passed up the opportunity to step forward.
“Alfredo was the nominated penalty taker,” he explained. “It was nothing to do with James passing the buck or anything like that. I decided we needed to change that up.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t taken our chance in that big moment. People will look back at that moment as the chance to swing the momentum of the whole game in our favour, although we were much the stronger team throughout the 90 minutes anyway.”
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