Rangers boss Michael Beale bemoans ‘harsh’ VAR decisions in derby defeat

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Michael Beale felt Rangers were on the wrong end of two key decisions in the 3-2 defeat at Celtic which all but settled the destination of the cinch Premiership.

Gers striker Alfredo Morelos had a ‘goal’ chalked off after referee Kevin Clancy adjudged that Hoops defender Alistair Johnston had been fouled.

Kyogo Furuhashi then gave Celtic the lead after 26 minutes before Rangers skipper James Tavernier levelled just before the break with a stunning free-kick.

Celtic v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos on the pitch ahead of the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Saturday April 8, 2023.

And another error by visiting defender John Souttar, starting for only the second time this season in place of the injured Connor Goldson, allowed the Portuguese winger to score a third before Tavernier reduced the deficit with a header.

Rangers are now 12 points behind the Hoops with seven games remaining, with their title hopes up in smoke.

“Fine margins,” said Beale of an enthralling game. “I thought we played well in the game. Obviously two big mistakes were quite costly for us, after I thought we started the second half very well.

Celtic v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
James Tavernier (right) scores Rangers’ first goal of the game (Jane Barlow/PA)

“If you look at Alfredo’s shirt, it is twisted around his back and I don’t think their player is trying to play the ball, only one player is trying to play the ball.

“There’s a lot going on with the two players but why pick on ours at the moment?

“Kevin sees it there and then. I asked him if it was for a foul on (goalkeeper) Joe Hart and he said it was for a foul by Alfredo, that’s what I am disappointed with.

“The guys in the (VAR) studio are watching it back, all I would ask is if you look at the number on Alfredo’s shirt, who is pulling who?

“One is trying to play the ball, the other isn’t. It was a big decision in the game.

“Ben Davies makes a mistake with the clearance up in the air and heading against Jota, but it hits his arm. I know it’s not outside his body, but to not get one of the two is harsh.

“Going back to the game, the two mistakes that cost us are not the only mistakes, we had chances up the other end when we could have been more decisive.

Aberdeen v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Pittodrie Stadium
Connor Goldson has a hip flexor issue (Jane Barlow/PA)

Beale revealed Goldson will have a scan on a hip flexor problem.

He said: “We lost Connor with 20 minutes to go in the training session on Friday. I thought John played really well. I don’t want the focus to be on the misplaced pass.

“Connor has a problem with his hip flexor, he will have a scan after the weekend.

“He felt it earlier in the week but thought he was fine, trained, but it was just too sore to play.”

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