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Steven Gerrard: Rangers manager urges authorities to 'help' referees

Rangers lost 1-0 to Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final

Steven Gerrard during Rangers' League Cup final defeat to Celtic
Image: Rangers boss Steven Gerrard thought Celtic's winner was offside

Steven Gerrard said officials must get more "help" after Rangers lost the Scottish League Cup final against Celtic to a controversial goal.

    Despite dominating possession and creating more chances, including Alfredo Morelos having a second-half penalty saved by Fraser Forster, Rangers were edged out by bitter Old Firm rivals Celtic.

    Christopher Jullien scored the winner in the 60th minute, with replays appearing to show three Celtic players, including Jullien, were narrowly offside from Jonny Hayes' free-kick.

    Rangers manager Gerrard bemoaned the goal, saying: "We were outstanding in our performance. Everything we asked of the players today, in terms of how we approached it and what we wanted from them, I can't be much prouder. But finals are decided on big moments and they didn't go in our favour today.

    "There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR. It 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.

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    Rangers captain James Tavernier was unhappy that Christopher Jullien's goal was allowed to stand

    "But one thing I do know is the officials up here need some help. There are too many things, not just for our club but across the board, 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."

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    Gers captain James Tavernier, the team's usual penalty taker, seemingly handed the ball to Morelos for the spot-kick, which was awarded after a clumsy challenge from Jeremie Frimpong, who was shown a red card.

    Former Liverpool and England midfielder Gerrard insisted it was always the plan for the Colombian to be on penalties.

    Alfredo Morelos League Cup final Rangers vs Celtic
    Image: Morelos spurned a number of opportunities throughout the game

    "Alfredo was the nominated penalty taker. 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. People will look back at that moment as the chance to swing the momentum in our favour, although we were much the stronger team throughout the 90 minutes anyway.

    "I've got a big job to pick them all up because as you can imagine it's a tough one. It's raw right now but this is football at the top. We'll suffer and then we'll bounce back."

    Rangers vs Celtic League Cup final
    Image: Full-back Jeremie Frimpong, 18, was sent off for fouling Morelos

    Frimpong: I was just panicking

    Frimpong, the 18-year-old Dutch full-back signed from Manchester City in September, was a relieved man after Forster saved the penalty he gave away.

    He said: "Oh my days. When you get sent off like that, I was panicking inside. It was the worst feeling ever.

    "Every time Rangers got the ball, I was just panicking. The time was going so slowly but the team held it through and I am buzzing obviously.

    "Kristoffer [Ajer] went to clear it, it ricocheted off someone and Morelos was through on goal. Obviously my natural instinct was to put him off a little bit because he was through on goal, he had a tap in. Fraser is unstoppable, I love him. He saved me."

    James Tavernier
    Image: James Tavernier had previously been on penalty duties this season

    Tavernier: The decision was mind-boggling

    Rangers skipper Tavernier highlighted his belief that a major trophy wouldn't be too long in coming, but also lamented the goal scored by Celtic.

    He said: "The lads left everything out on the pitch. Looking back at their goal, it was really disappointing that the linesman didn't catch three of their players offside. It's mind-boggling how the officials didn't spot that. That hurts.

    "It was their only chance on target and it was disappointing because we created so many chances but Fraser kept them in the game with some incredible saves.

    "But our team will bounce back from the display we put in. Our time will come. It's obviously hurting everybody but we are all mentally strong and I've got great belief in the lads to bounce back."

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