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COVID CHAOS: GERRARD AXES FIVE

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STEVEN GERRARD has confirmed FIVE players have been removed from the Rangers squad after breaking coronavirus guidelines.

South African midfielder Bongani Zungu, defenders Calvin Bassey and Nathan Patterson, goalkeeper Brian Kinnear and Dapo Mebude, currently on loan at Queen of the South, have been axed from the first-team pool.

The Ibrox club have been in touch with the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Government over the incident which took place at a house party in the early hours of Sunday morning, as Scotzine reported.

The bungling players can expect a seven-game ban by the football authorities, the same punishment that was handed out to two other Gers stars, winger Jordan Jones and central defender George Edmundson, after a similar breach of protocols earlier in the season.

Ahead of the first leg of the Europa League last-32 first leg encounter against Royal Antwerp in Belgium tomorrow night, Gerrard, speaking to Rangers TV, said: “Bongani Zungu is involved, Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey, Dapo Mebude, who is obviously part of the academy on loan at Queen of the South, and Brian Kinnear, a young goalie who is an academy player who has spent some time around the first team, as well.

“First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that five of our players have been involved in a breach of Covid regulations which from the top of the club to the bottom we are all really disappointed in. That will be dealt with internally.

“The players will be fined and we are in dialogue with the SFA and the government to find a solution moving forward in terms of them boys.

“They have been removed from the club and the squad for now on a short-time basis while they isolate. I will sit down with them face to face when we are allowed to do so.”

Gerrard added: “We will certainly move forward from it. We are at a real critical stage in terms of the games coming up and where we are as a club.

“It won’t affect us as a group. I’ve been absolutely delighted with the group in terms of their application.

“I feel personally let down by recent events, but I am trying to move forward and focus on the important things which is to prepare the team for a huge game against Antwerp.

“I’m really excited and look forward to the game.”

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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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