Joe Aribo was substituted 22 minutes into Rangers’ 1-0 League Cup quarter-final victory over Livingston on Wednesday night, after picking up a nasty head wound.
Livi’s Ricki Lamie caught the summer signing with his elbow while both players went up for a header, and the BT Sport commentary team later reported that the player had required 20 stitches.
That was confirmed by Steven Gerrard after the game, but the manager offered otherwise contradictory updates on the midfielder’s playing prospects going forward.
Rangers boss Gerrard gives two different updates
“I think he’s ok, he’s got a nasty gash on his head which was stitched up, he was on the end of a bad one,” the manager told RangersTV. “Joe’s a tough lad i’m sure he’ll get on with it. I’m not sure if it’ll affect him in the coming games, we’ll have to assess that tomorrow. But, he himself wanted to play on…he’s just going to get on with it.”
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Gerrard appeared to be quite upbeat about the situation in his RangersTV interview. He seemed optimistic Aribo wouldn’t be sidelined and he didn’t explicitly criticise Lamie’s challenge. It seemed he regarded it as an unfortunate coming together. Yet, other quotes emerged after the game which differed significantly.
“Is it skirting close to dangerous play?” asked Gerrard, as quoted by the Daily Record. “You are the people who have to write about that and have an opinion on that. A boy has just gone off with 20 stitches in his head.”
“…that is serious foul play because he has led with the elbow and Joe has been caught. He’s bandaged up and he went straight home, so we will see how he is. But he will certainly be out for the weekend.”
In the latter interview, Gerrard asserted he was not accusing Lamie of intentionally trying to injure his player.
Yet, he seemed much more irate than in his RangersTV piece. Crucially, he changed his tune and rather than saying it would be a case of getting on with it, he ruled Aribo out of this weekend’s big clash against Aberdeen.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a clearer idea of the extent of the repercussions of the injury today.
It’s unfortunate timing for the 23-year-old, though, who had been working his way back following an underwhelming Old Firm showing. He put in a strong display away at St Johnstone at the weekend, but now faces the possibility of a stint on the sidelines.