Steven Gerrard: Rangers boss would take team off pitch over safety fears

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Watch: Man confronts Rangers captain Tavernier during draw with Hibernian

Steven Gerrard would be prepared to take his Rangers team off the pitch if he thought they were at risk of violent behaviour from supporters.

A man was arrested after confronting Ibrox captain James Tavernier at Easter Road in Friday's draw with Hibernian.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Manchester United's Chris Smalling were also involved in incidents involving pitch intruders over the weekend.

"If it continues someone is going to get hurt and hurt badly," said Gerrard.

"We are talking about fan behaviour, stuff getting thrown on the pitch, people entering the pitch and striking players, which is a huge concern. For the image of the game, it's not right at all."

Asked if he would consider withdrawing his players due to a threat from the stands, the Rangers manager replied: "Yes, of course, if there was a situation when I thought it was necessary to do that.

"What we'd do is we would speak to the police and the officials on the day and we would make a collective decision. But it's certainly a decision I would support if any of the players - my players or opposition players - were at risk."

Gerrard thinks the authorities should be strong on the offenders and not punish the clubs, saying he "doesn't agree with" a strict liability policy.

He said: "I think the police should come out and say 'the next person to enter the pitch without permission, gets a very strict jail sentence'."

'Any game against Aberdeen is always huge'

Joe Worrall levelled for Rangers at Pittodrie earlier this month to force a Scottish Cup replay
Joe Worrall levelled for Rangers at Pittodrie earlier this month to force a Scottish Cup replay

Rangers meet Aberdeen in Tuesday's Scottish Cup replay and Gerrard is confident that the Ibrox security staff "will be on their toes to make sure there is not a similar incident".

With a semi-final against Celtic at stake, the manager is warning that it would be "naive of the players to think about Hampden" before facing a Dons side who have been formidable on the road of late.

Aberdeen had won seven consecutive away games before Saturday's goalless draw at Celtic Park.

"Any game against Aberdeen is always huge," said Gerrard. "We have a tough challenge smacking us in the face and we need to go and perform at a level that is capable of getting us the right result.

"It suits them to sit in and be organised and have men behind the ball. They follow man-to-man in separate areas and they have players who are quick on the counter-attack. Maybe their style is suited at the moment to playing away from home.

"But we won't change in any way, we always focus the majority of our preparation on ourselves and trying to improve us. The players don't need any extra drilling in terms of what Aberdeen are about. We have played them often enough."

This is the sixth meeting between the teams this season with Aberdeen on two wins and Rangers on one.

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