STEVEN Gerrard summoned his Rangers players to a summit meeting at the Hummel Training Centre yesterday morning to warn them about the club’s poor disciplinary record. As much as he has questioned some of the decisions at the time, the Englishman knows that the seven red cards his team have been issued with this season is too much.

While Rangers have performed creditably with ten men in each of their last two matches, earning a Europa League draw against Villarreal after the dismissal of Daniel Candeias, and seeing out a 2-1 win against Hearts after the sending off of Scott Arfield, Gerrard is concerned that the knock-on effect of it all could derail his club’s title challenge.

It seems as good a time as any for the reminder: having hit the top of the league for the first time since 2011, tonight sees them defend that position in what is sure to be a fiery encounter with rivals Aberdeen, a team who they were forced play fully 78 minutes against short-handed on the opening day.”Yes, we spoke this morning,” said Gerrard. “Look, some red cards we have deserved, some we feel a little bit hard done by, but it is what it is: we’ve had seven red cards which is too many and we’ve told the players that.

“I am confident we can help the players and channel it in the right direction,” he added. “We want them to be tough and compete and be fair and be as hard to play against as we can. But we have to make the players aware of the knock-on effect.

“We have played over 280 minutes with either ten men or nine. Now, we have coped very well in those circumstances but it’s the knock-on effect it has.

those minutes, they do more sprints, more accelerations and decelerations so it has more strain on the body so that makes it more of a high risk of injuries.

“We also lose key players for important fixtures in the future, so it’s not just the isolated incidents that concern us, it’s the knock-on effect it has on the squad.”

While the Rangers manager pulled back a little on his comments after the first day of the season against the Pittodrie outfit that the club have been on the wrong end of decisions by Scottish referees from years, he insisted that his

side aren’t a ‘dirty team’.

“I don’t think we are a dirty team,” he said. “I don’t think we have got dirty individuals. We have got a team who will go and compete. Daniel [Candeias] has got two red cards but he is not a dirty player.

“Scott Arfield is not a dirty player but he has made a mistake and been punished for it quite rightly.

“But as a group we have to improve our disciplinary record. It is a surprise and a shock that we have been given so many. Although as we’ve said we haven’t deserved a couple so it looks worse than it is.

“Do I stand by my comments on the first day of the season? Probably not as strong. Sometimes when you speak as a manager your emotions are running high, but it is what it is.”

Gerrard took issues with Craig Levein’s assertion that Hearts had been playing against 13 men on Sunday as both referee Bobby Madden and his linesman awarded an offside goal. “He forgot to mention our fans,” said Gerrard.