Gerrard wants better protection against head injuries as Aribo faces lay-off

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard called for better protection against head injuries as he faces up to losing Joe Aribo for several weeks.

The midfielder suffered a deep gash in his forehead after being caught by Ricki Lamie’s elbow in an aerial challenge during Rangers’ Betfred Cup win at Livingston on Wednesday.

The Nigeria international will undergo further assessment but Gerrard expects him to miss games against Aberdeen, Young Boys and Hamilton over the next 10 days.

Gerrard said: “I don’t think he envisaged going away with 20 stitches in his head. So I think he was in a little bit of shock but he was OK.

“The cut went right through to the bone, so there were a lot of layers inside that needed to be stitched.

“We are disappointed for him, he is going to miss some games. We will have to see how many that will be. He certainly won’t be available for the weekend and it could have an impact on the Europa League and next week’s fixtures and maybe international week, because it is right in the centre of his forehead.

“I suppose it will depend on what type of protection we can get for him in the coming weeks and how comfortable it is, but it’s in a real awkward spot.

“I’ll be very, very surprised if you see him before the international break.

“This will be a setback for Joe but knowing the kid, and knowing the player, he will want to bounce back as soon as he can. He didn’t want to come off, he wanted to carry on, which sums the player up and his mentality.”

Gerrard stressed he was not accusing Lamie of going out to hurt his player but feels Scottish football should examine its interpretation of such incidents.

“I don’t think you can judge it on just the damage, because you can have an accidental collision and come out with a real nasty injury,” he said.

“And I’ve been up here long enough to know Lamie as a player. I don’t think he has gone in to intentionally hurt Joe at all, there is no accusation there. I think he plays tough but he plays fair.

“But that, in my book, having watched it eight to 10 times, is serious foul play. And across the board, not just with my players, that should be a red card. Because in any other league, that’s a red card. I’m sure when the referee (Don Robertson) sees it back, he will be disappointed in his decision.”

Gerrard was also unhappy with his Livingston counterpart, who felt Rangers should have gone down to 10 men when Filip Helander brought down Lyndon Dykes.

“Gary Holt said we got away with one with Fil Helander,” Gerrard said. “Having seen that back, he’s definitely got a case. I think Fil’s got away with one there. So I’m sure the referee will be disappointed in that incident as well.

“That’s the reason why I said what I did after the game, because their manager went on record and was only interested in a red card for his team and never really mentioned Joe Aribo getting 20 stitches in his forehead. That was a bit of a surprise.

“Look, I’m one who is up for competing and being tough and being fair, and at times I got things wrong on a football pitch. I’m not sitting here as an angel at all.

“But across the board, I think when it comes to head injuries of that severity, I think we need to protect all the players in the league. Because that incident in any other league in the world is a red card.”

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