Evening Express

Joe Harper blasts back at Rangers boss Gerrard after ‘class above Aberdeen’ comments

Steven Gerrard. Picture by Darrell Benns

Pittodrie legend Joe Harper today warned Rangers boss Steven Gerrard to expect a backlash for slating the Dons.

An injury-time strike from teen Bruce Anderson secured a 1-1 draw against Rangers at Pittodrie in the Premiership opener.

In the aftermath, Gerrard claimed Rangers proved they are “a class above Aberdeen”.

Managing his first game in Scotland, the Liverpool legend also slated the Reds, stating they “didn’t have any idea” against the Ibrox club.

Harper slammed those comments as amateurish and disrespectful from the rookie Gers gaffer.

Joe Harper

And he reckons that will come back to haunt Gerrard as the Dons will be fired up to finish ahead of them in the Premiership yet again.

Aberdeen’s greatest goal-scorer Harper said: “Gerrard’s comments about Aberdeen were amateurish, ridiculous and disrespectful.

“It showed a lack of class from Gerrard, who has only been managing for a few months.

“If he can say that about a team like Aberdeen what will Gerrard say about the other teams in the Scottish Premiership?

“There will be a backlash from this as he is being disrespectful to not just Aberdeen, but also to Scottish football.

“I am sure Aberdeen and Derek McInnes will be fired up to prove to Gerrard that they are not second class to Rangers this season.

“How Gerrard can say they are a class above Aberdeen is ridiculous considering the Dons finished second last season.

“They have finished Premiership runners-up for the last four seasons.”

Gerrard was managing the Ibrox club for the first time domestically having arrived at Ibrox as the new manager in the summer.

He has spent in excess of £5 million in transfer fees restructuring Gers during a busy summer.

Gerrard has also been given the financial backing by the Rangers board to bring in a number of high profile loan signings from teams like Roma and Liverpool.

Rangers were reduced to 10 men following a red card to Alfredo Morelos.

However, 10-man Gers went ahead through a James Tavernier penalty.

The Ibrox club looked to have secured a victory until teen substitute Anderson netted a last gasp equaliser three minutes into injury time.

Harper said: “Aberdeen don’t have to prove anything to Rangers.

“The Dons record both on and off the pitch is immaculate.

“Aberdeen have won two European trophies and have a great manager and strong team that has performed to a consistently high level in recent years.

“It is a club that is debt free and run the right way behind the scenes by a good board.

“Can Rangers say that?”

In the aftermath of the Pittodrie draw Gerrard also claimed the “world is against” Rangers in terms of refereeing decisions.

Gerrard said: “It seems like the world is against us today. But we’ll make sure we get better for that because it looks like some more decisions will go against us as the season goes on.

“It’s not just today, I believe it’s been happening for seasons.”

Morelos had been sent off for kicking out at Dons defender Scott McKenna after just 12 minutes.

The assistant referee brought the incident to whistler Kevin Clancy’s attention.

Harper said: “To say refereeing decisions go against Rangers is way off the mark from Gerrard.

“It shows how little he knows about Scottish football.

“Rangers have been getting the decisions from officials for 100 years.”

Dons boss Derek McInnes refused to get drawn into a war of words with Gerrard.

When asked for his reaction to Gerrard’s comments McInnes opted to focus on his own side.

McInnes said: “I am concentrating on my own team. I don’t think there was a huge difference between both teams and my team didn’t play anywhere near what they can,

“I know my team is better than what they showed.”