BEN Davies has leapt to the defence of John Lundstram following the Rangers midfielder’s costly red card against Celtic on Saturday and insisted that his team mate had made an honest attempt to win the ball.

Lundstram was ordered off in added on time at the end of the first-half in the cinch Premiership game at Parkhead for a reckless and needless foul on opposition right back Alistair Johnston.

Referee Willie Collum initially showed the Englishman a yellow card – but he upgraded that to a red after being urged to watch a replay of the incident on his pitchside monitor by VAR official Steven McLean.

The visitors were trailing 2-1 when they were reduced to 10 men and they ended up losing by that scoreline at the end of the 90 minutes to effectively, if not arithmetically, hand the Scottish title to their city rivals.

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Rangers manager Philippe Clement, whose men had just pulled a goal back shortly before the flashpoint, stated afterwards that Lundstram had made a “bad decision” and was aware he had side down.

However, centre half Davies revealed that nobody in the Ibrox club’s squad had blamed the former Sheffield United man for the painful loss afterwards and stressed they took collective responsibility for the reverse.

“John has honestly gone for the ball,” he said. “He was disappointed in the dressing room afterwards. But we are a team and we stick together.

“It was a difficult afternoon. I thought we did really well to bounce back and get a goal back straight away after we had conceded two goals. Obviously the second half was difficult.

The Herald: “We just had to stay in the game for as long as we could and then try and nick something, like we did the last time we were at Parkhead when we were down to 10 men. We created chances and were hoping to could get something towards the end and then go from there. But it wasn’t to be.

“I think it is difficult when you play half the game with 10 men and stay in the game for that long. But I thought that we showed character in the second half, stuck together and stayed in the game for as long as we could looking for that opportunity at the end.”

Davies, who made his first start since December on Saturday in the absence of Leon Balogun and Connor Goldson, confessed the narrow loss had hurt the Rangers players and recalled how the dressing room was subdued following the final whistle.

However, the former Liverpool player feels the Ibrox club, who take on Celtic again in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday week, can take heart from how they battled after they had been reduced to 10 men.

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“There were a lot of tired bodies in there,” he said. “I think we left everything out there in the second-half. So we let the manager speak. We are going to let it settle and then go from there.

“Obviously we are disappointed right now because we have lost the game, but we can take positives out of it for sure. We have left ourselves in a difficult position in the league. When the dust settles, though, we will take the positives and look at what we did well ahead of a big cup final.”

But Davies is focusing fully on the Premiership fixture with Dundee in Govan tomorrow evening – an outing which Rangers need to win to keep their slim chances of finshing first in the top flight table alive.

“The Scottish Cup final is in two weeks,” he said. “We have got two league games before that which we need to win both of. Then we have got a week to prepare for the cup final.”

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