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Gerrard sent off as Rangers move to brink of title

Glasgow (AFP) – Steven Gerrard may have to watch his side’s coronation as Scottish champions from the stands after being sent off for a half-time rant at referee John Beaton during Rangers’ 1-0 win at Livingston on Wednesday.

The Glasgow giants could end their 10-year wait for a league title as early as this weekend if they beat St Mirren on Saturday and Celtic fail to win at Dundee United on Sunday.

However, if Celtic keep themselves alive at Tannadice, Rangers will have the chance to seal the championship on their rivals’ own turf in the third Old Firm derby of the season on March 21.

Gerrard faces an anxious wait to see if he will be able to take his place in the dugout for that match after marching onto the pitch at the Tony Macaroni Arena to complain after seeing Alfredo Morelos booked for diving, despite having clearly been fouled in the box just before the break.

Gerrard’s temper earned him two yellow cards as he shouted at the official: “You’re bang out of order.”

The matter does not fall under the Scottish Football Association’s fast-track procedures so there is no set deadline for Hampden disciplinary chiefs to decide how long a punishment to hand out.

Morelos had the last laugh on his manager’s behalf when the Colombian fired home an 87th-minute winner to extend Rangers’ lead over Celtic to 18 points.

It had been a rather uneventful contest until Beaton intervened eight minutes before the break.

Morelos hit the deck as he went past Max Stryjek while chasing down Steven Davis’ sublime ball over the top.

Beaton looked for a moment set to point to the spot before changing his mind and reaching for the top pocket to book Morelos.

Gerrard exploded on the touchline and had every right as replays showed Livi’s Polish keeper had made clear contact as he clipped Morelos’ heel.

Gerrard’s mood would not have been helped by the sight of an offside flag going up just as Connor Goldson headed home from Borna Barisic’s free-kick four minutes after the restart.

If the half-time bust-up had not been explosive enough, Beaton was then forced to momentarily call a halt to the action as a barrage of fireworks were let off outside the ground in the 55th minute by Rangers fans hailing what they expect to be the imminent arrival of the club’s 55th league crown.

Morelos then provided the fireworks on the field as he bundled home his 14th goal of the season after Stryjek spilled a Davis shot at his feet.

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