Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has left the door open for Jordan Jones and George Edmundson to rescue their Rangers careers after accepting the duo’s Covid apology.
The Ibrox pair have been ruled out until after Christmas after being handed hefty seven-match bans for breaking strict government guidelines when they attended an illegal house party earlier this month.
Winger Jones, 26, and 23-year-old defender Edmundson were given two-week club suspensions and ordered to self-isolate after Gers chiefs learned of the incident, while they were also issued with fixed penalties by police officers called out to break up the early-hours get-together in a flat in Glasgow’s west end.
But there was a considerable section of the Rangers support who wanted the club to go further and boot both out for good after accusing them both of placing the club’s title hopes in jeopardy with their antics.
But Gerrard says he is willing to forgive and forget so long as there is no repeat after both men issued apologies to the fans.
He said: “I think the important thing here was to get the players out of the isolation period, first and foremost.
“Then it was about sitting down with the players face to face to gauge a reaction to how they feel and where they were at at that time.
“I spoke to them both individually and they were both very sad over the incident, they were remorseful, apologetic and full of regret.
“They first and foremost wanted to apologise to the supporters and their team-mates for their actions.
“Now it’s about me giving them the support and managing the two to come back to being top players because they’re good players, we need them here to help and support us moving forward.
“They’ve gone about it the right way since they’ve accepted their punishments. We’re pleased (yesterday’s disciplinary hearing) is done and out the way and we’ll now move forward and try to get these players both back to where they need to be.”
As thing stand Jones and Edmundson – who are ineligible for Europa League action after being omitted from Gerrard’s European squad – will not be available again until the clash with St Mirren on December 30 or the Boxing Day clash with Hibernian, depending on whether Rangers reach the Betfred Cup quarter-finals.
Jones was also left out of the Northern Ireland squad for last week’s Euro 2020 play-off with Slovakia but there was better news on the international front as Ryan Jack helped Scotland book a slot at Euro 2020 with victory over Serbia.
Gerrard was delighted for both the midfielder and Gers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, who was back-up to David Marshall and Craig Gordon.
The Ibrox stopper has been sharing first-team duties with Allan McGregor this term but Gerrard admits he cannot let national team concerns cloud his judgement when it comes to picking his number one.
Laughing, he said: “It’s not my job to help Scotland.
“Look we rate Jon very highly. We’ve got two top-class number-one goalkeepers here. I’ll make the best decisions for Rangers.
“What I will say is I’ll remain in communication and dialogue with Steve Clarke.
“I think it’s important that we manage Ryan Jack and Jon in the best possible way, so I will try to support the national team from that point of view.
“I want both players to go and represent Rangers (when with Scotland) and I want them to go in the best form and in the best place they can be.
“But that won’t affect my decisions from a domestic point of view. I’ve got to get results for Rangers, I’ve got to manage Ryan Jack in the best possible way for him.
“Jon will get games of football here, for sure, with where Allan is at in his career. So Jon will play football from now until the summer. Will that be enough to please Steve Clarke, I don’t know. That’s obviously a question you’ll have to ask Clarkey.”
Gerrard, whose team return to domestic action against Aberdeen on Sunday, added: “I am really pleased for Ryan, I was proud of his performance and I think it was great to see, being up here and really involved in Scottish football now, the country back in a major tournament.
“It was fantastic to watch the celebrations and I want to congratulate Steve, his staff and all the players involved. It was a magnificent achievement.”
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