Rangers manager Steven Gerrard hits out at Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous for reckless challenge on Joe Aribo

The Ibrox club reclaimed top spot in the Scottish Premiership as they came from behind to beat Hibs 2-1

Steven Gerrard hit out at Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous for his “leg breaking” challenge on Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo during Sunday’s Scottish Premiership encounter at Ibrox.

The centre-half received his marching orders during the first half, with his side 1-0 up after Kevin Nisbet’s 8th minute opener, for flying into a tackle that saw Aribo upended and requiring treatment.

Gerrard said: “It’s a red card, 100 per cent. As someone who knows a thing or two about bad tackles because I’ve made a few myself, it doesn’t come much worse than that.

“To go in at that speed with that force and that height, if he had connected with Joe then his season would’ve been over for sure.

“It’s the second time this kid done it against us because he did one very similar on Lassana Coulibaly a few years ago and he obviously hasn’t learned his lesson.

“Hopefully he learns moving forward because he’s let his manager and his team-mates down. They were one-nil up and he could play the ball if he wanted to.

“He decides to go in a foot over the ball and he’s running at some speed. Thankfully it wasn’t full contact otherwise Joe Aribo would’ve been in trouble.”

The Light Blues eventually capitalised on their man advantage as a perfectly weighted cross from Nathan Patterson was headed into the net by the unmarked Kemar Roofe on the hour mark.

Another excellent delivery, this time from Borna Barisic, saw the Croatian pick out Alfredo Morelos who powered a header past Matt Macey in the visitors goal to clinch an important three points.

Gerrard was proud of the way his side responded to an early setback and believes they are edging closer to the type of form they enjoyed during an unbeaten domestic campaign last season.

He admitted: “I really enjoyed our performance, a top-of-the-table clash against a really strong team.

“We had to work hard for it but that was no surprise because Hibs have started the season strong, there in a good place and Jack (Ross) has got them well drilled.

“We expected a tough challenge. It could become a bit complicated early on when we conceded, but I thought it was against the run of play.

“It was all about our reaction after that and they reacted in a very mature way, we didn’t panic and settled ourselves down.

“We played some nice football and found our invention and our variety in the final third, albeit against ten men but sometimes it’s harder that way because there’s more players behind the ball.

“We flipped our formation to be a bit more aggressive, more front-foot. We never waited. We went after Hibs.

“We didn’t panic, we played with maturity and class and the subs helped us a lot. It was a really strong performance from the boys.

“They deserve all the credit because they’re the one who provided the quality moments to get us back in the game.

On his celebration at the end of the game, Gerrard continued: “The supporters, players, staff and myself are going to need each other over the course of the season, so that was the reason I wanted to show a bit of emotion.

“We’re a lot closer to where we want to be after this performance. It was more like us in terms of how I want us to look, a lot more inventive, a lot more exciting and that’s probably the game I’ve enjoyed most this season.”