Rangers news: Steven Gerrard has warned Motherwell that their bullying days are over
Fir Park captain Peter Hartley caused a storm ahead of Sunday’s clash between the sides by saying he enjoyed watching Fabio Cardoso “weeping” after Ryan Bowman broke the Gers defender’s nose during last season’s Betfred Cup semi-final.
Hartley later apologised for his crass comments, which Gerrard accepted.
Rangers could not cope with Motherwell’s physical style at Hampden but Gerrard is adamant that won’t be the case now.
He said: “Rangers won’t be bullied, it won’t happen. It’s now non-negotiable at this club. You have to compete.
“We would have to not turn up to be bullied. From what I’ve seen so far, I’d be very surprised if that happened to us now.
“If a team’s focus is on bullying tactics, we can match that no problem at all. We invite that.
“When teams try to do that to us it takes a lot of the focus off the football, and we can capitalise on where they haven’t looked or haven’t worried about our strengths as a football team.”
Gerrard branded Hartley’s remarks “naive” but was keen to drawn a line under the matter before tomorrow’s Fir Park clash.
He said: “Steve Robinson left me a message last night and I spoke to him this morning. We’ve accepted his apology. We’ve accepted Motherwell’s apology. We are a forgiving club. I’m a forgiving man.
“I don’t want it to rumble on and add unnecessary heat that’s going to come with the game on Sunday. It’s important we focus on the football and try to do a job.
“The kid has been naive. He regrets it. It was a surprise to me because he is a leader.
“Normally, leaders have to have responsibility and know what to say and when to say it. He’s got that one wrong, but we forgive him.”
Lee Wallace was involved in his first game for nearly a year when he was an unused sub for the 1-0 Europa League win over Ufa on Thursday.
The left-back and Rangers are awaiting the SPFL’s decision on his appeal against a club fine of four weeks’ wages for his role in a dressing-room bust-up with Graeme Murty following the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic in April.
No matter the outcome, Gerrard insists Wallace has a future at Ibrox.
He said: “We are waiting for the results but whatever the decision is, we will roll with it.
“If the decision is in Lee’s favour or the club’s favour, we roll with it.
“I have had a chat with the board over it and whatever decision comes, it comes and we move on. He is available for selection as soon as he is match-fit.”
Gerrard is keen to land another central defender and has been linked with a loan move for Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall, an England Under-21 cap.
He said: “Worrall is a fantastic player. I’ve been following him for many years with England.
“He’s a really good player but I’ve never been keen to talk about other club’s players. But, yes, we are looking for a centre-back.”