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GERRARD REF CRITICISM WILL ENDEAR HIM TO FANS

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GORDON STRACHAN reckons Steven Gerrard has taken a short cut to paranoia with his criticism of referees.

The rookie Rangers boss claimed match official Willie Collum had cost his side in the 1-0 defeat from Celtic at Parkhead on Sunday.

Gerrard was emphatic that Tom Rogic had fouled Ryan Jack in the lead-up to the only goal of the game which was scored by Olivier Ntcham in the 62nd minute.

And Strachan admitted it took him a little time as the Hoops manager before he displayed the same persecution complex.

He said: “Steven got caught up in the refereeing decisions in the media interviews after the match, but he was trying to defend his players – the most important thing after an Old Firm defeat.

“I think he was right, that it was a foul, but the referee had nothing to do with the woodwork denying Celtic four times or Allan McGregor being brilliant.

“It wasn’t the referee stopping the goals going in. But I understand it, it’s heat of the battle, the Rangers players defended manfully.

“Looking at his approach since going there, someone must’ve primed Steven for the fact that Rangers have had everyone against them for the last 10 years. Or the last 20, or ONE HUNDRED, depending on who you speak to.

“Steven’s just in the door. It took me a wee while for the paranoia to set in – it wasn’t as quick as this.

“It’s the way the game gets you in Glasgow. And that’ll endear Gerrard to the supporters, that’s for sure.”

Strachan also pointed to the fact that Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated the game as proof there is still significant daylight between the Glasgow rivals.

He added: “Steven Gerrard knew the scale of what he had to do at Rangers before the derby, so defeat to Celtic wouldn’t have been a wake-up call.

“He’s too intelligent to think Rangers had bridged that huge difference within two months. He knows there’s no magic wand.

“He’ll probably think he needs to work on his midfield, as the Celtic three ran the game, they were too good for Rangers on the day.

“Because of that, the forwards didn’t get much service, and they couldn’t threaten Celtic – which is the disappointment for Steven.

“Will Rangers get better? Yes. Will they win the title this year? I don’t think so.

“People are now looking at Rangers and saying: ‘How will you deal with that, lads?’ It’s up to them now to take up that challenge.

“But there’s still some way between the two teams.”

* Strachan was speaking to PaddyPower.com.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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