STEVEN GERRARD revealed referee John Beaton apologised after failing to award Rangers a “blatant” penalty-kick in the 2-2 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie last night.
The match official gave a free-kick just outside the box following a foul by Lewis Ferguson on Alfredo Morelos as the Ibrox outfit tried to rally after throwing away a two-goal lead.
The stalemate saw the visitors drop two points behind champions Celtic at the top of the Premiership with the Hoops snatching a stoppage-time winner through skipper Scott Brown in the 2-1 victory over Hamilton Accies at Parkhead.
Gerrard, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “It’s 100 per cent a penalty. I’m surprised it’s not given as the referee is three yards away and looking right at it. He has seen it since and agrees it is a blatant penalty he has missed.
“I have to be very careful what I say, obviously. But I don’t think there will be a more disappointed person outside of Rangers tonight than John.
“He has just explained to me that he got it wrong, right in front of his eyes, and there is no excuse. There is nothing more I can say on it, to be honest.
“Did he apologise? Yes. I went to see him.”
FALL GUY…Alfredo Morelos is tripped by Lewis Ferguson on the line with ref John Beaton (left) getting a close-up view.
Strikes from Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack put the visitors in control, but Jon Gallagher, who was at fault for Gers’ opening strike, made amends when he pulled one back before half-time and Andy Considine’s close-range finish minutes after the turnaround levelled matters.
Gerrard added: “We were dominant and controlling the game. I was so pleased with what I was seeing, but we conceded a silly goal and it flipped the whole momentum of the game.
“We were too confident at 2-0 and Aberdeen went direct in the second half and we couldn’t handle the pressure.
“We conceded another goal and they had chances again. It’s frustrating as had we done what we were doing we would have won the game. We need to manage games better, especially when you are away to your rivals. At 2-0 up, to concede a goal like that is disappointing.
“I never got the reaction I wanted in the second-half. We turned the ball over and they continued to turn the heat up. They looked as if they were going to punish us. We need to reset the mindset very quickly as it is a Cup Final against our rivals.”
Gerrard will now have to prepare his players for Sunday’s Betfred League Cup Hampden showdown with the holders who are seeking their fourth successive triumph in the competition and their TENTH straight domestic silverware honour.