STEVEN GERRARD hopes the Scottish FA take Brian Rice’s guilty plea and personal situation into consideration when deciding his fate for breaching betting regulations.

The Hamilton boss revealed on Monday that he had reported himself to the Association after the ‘horrible disease’ of his gambling addiction had come back to haunt him.

Rice previously admitted a three-decade long betting problem in 2013 after friends helped him pay off a £65,000 debt.

The 56-year-old, who expressed his regret in a statement, has been widely backed across the game and Gerrard has given his support to the Accies boss for his brave stance.

He said: “I admire that, but I don’t just admire Brian of that. It’s because of the conversations we’ve had. Since I came up to Scotland, he has been nothing but a gentleman.

HeraldScotland: Hamilton manager Brian RiceHamilton manager Brian Rice

“He is someone who has been around my position of coaching and management for a lot longer than I have. So there is nothing but respect going towards him.

“And I do admire the fact that he has come out, been brave and is trying to get the help and support he needs. All I can say is that everyone at Rangers is thinking of him at this time.

“For sure [ I hope it encourages others to come forward]. If there are other people doing it, I’m sure they will be looking at Brian and thinking how brave and honest he has been. I’ve got nothing but admiration and respect for that.”

Rice will face a Hampden hearing on January 30 and sanctions range from a three to 16-match ban and a fine of up to £100,000.

Hamilton have vowed to stand by their boss whatever the outcome of that case and Gerrard believes the focus should be on helping Rice to overcome his demons.

HeraldScotland: Hamilton manager Brian RiceHamilton manager Brian Rice

“I’d say so,” he said when asked if there should be mitigation in terms of his punishment. “I hope that’s the case that he gets the right support and people rally round him because I think he deserves that.

"I don’t like to see anyone getting punished, really, in football. But I don’t control that or make the decision so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“As I say, I was speaking to Gary Mac about it this morning. He has known the guy for a lot longer than me and he loves him.

"I can see why because every time I have been in his company he has been fantastic."