Stuart Kettlewell has vowed Ross County will investigate Rangers’ claims that Michael Gardyne uttered an unacceptable remark during Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to the Ibrox side.
The Staggies midfielder was booked by referee John Beaton for ‘foul and abusive language’ following the incident on the stroke of half-time.
But, defending Gardyne, Kettlewell insisted the referee would have taken stronger action had his player really overstepped the mark with his words.
“I know what the referee has booked Michael for and heard his reasons for that,” said Kettlewell. “It was for foul and abusive language, that’s how you would bracket it.
“I know the wording that was used from John’s side of things.
“I don’t know anything further, but if there is something we feel is untoward or against the morals of the football club, then he’ll be punished like anyone else would be.
“I will get the version from him, get it in his words and find out exactly what happened.
“We’ll need to make sure it lines up to what John has said. John was standing a yard or two away from the situation, so we have to give him some credit.
“It’s all blown up now and there are stories flying about regarding what’s been said.
“I am not condoning it if anything has been said that’s out of order, but we’ll need to speak to Michael and see what happened.”
Gers defender Connor Goldson reacted furiously to the incident, which came just after Iain Vigurs had crunched into Alfredo Morelos.
The Light Blues centre-back was among a number of players who surrounded Beaton to complain about the alleged slur, while Steven Gerrard marched onto the Global Energy Stadium pitch to confront Beaton as the whistle went for the interval.
The Ibrox boss said: “I only heard what my players were saying what they heard. That wasn’t good, that’s what I can say. This is a situation for Ross County, Stuart Kettlewell and the officials to deal with.
“But what my players are saying they heard, it shouldn’t be heard on a football pitch. That’s all I’m going to say on it.
“I’m not getting involved in (what was said), it’s not my business. But I’ll be interested to see how it’s dealt with by the opposition.
“I wanted to know if the referee heard what my players heard. He said he never, so from there I just moved on and went to do my half-time team talk and focused on the game.
“But what was apparently said doesn’t belong on a football pitch.
“Look, there’s no place for it. There’s a campaign for this kind of stuff to get it eradicated out of the game. We want to be at the forefront of backing these campaigns.
“But this wasn’t one of my players, so it’s not really for me to deal with, it’s for Ross County and the officials to deal with moving forward.
“But we will continue to back every campaign if it makes the game better.”
Gers maintained their grip on the Premiership lead after cruising to a victory that had much to do with the efforts of skipper James Tavernier.
The full-back scored his 16th goal of the season in between laying on a goal for Kemar Roofe and forcing Callum Morris into an own goal – taking his assist tally for the season to 12 – while Jermain Defoe marked his 800th career run-out with a last-minute strike.
Asked to sum up Tavernier’s contribution, Gerrard said: “Sensational, and he deserves all the plaudits. People will talk about the assists and the goals, but I judge James differently.
“I judge him on as soon as he walks through the door, what’s he doing? Is he helping me set the standards? Is he professional in everything he does? Is he leading by example? Is he helping the young lads? Is he making sure everyone is at it and the culture remains strong?
“This season he has been absolutely fantastic.
“I can’t be any more proud of him. He just needs to continue doing what he’s doing because he’s a massive help to me.
“His numbers are top-level stuff. I have played with some fantastic attacking right-backs – Kyle Walker, Glen Johnson, Steve Finnan to name a few.
“Tav is right up there. The way we play really suits James. The pleasing thing for me is he is still contributing to the other side of the game. He’s pressing, he’s really aggressive, he’s winning his duels, stopping crosses.
“Our clean sheet record, to me, is just as important as James’ other numbers. Where he is right now, he needs to bottle it and stay there for as long as he can because he’s in fantastic form.”