STEVEN GERRARD has warned his Rangers players about the knock-on effect their red cards could have on their ambitions for the rest of the campaign.

The Light Blues have picked up seven dismissals so far this term with one – Alfredo Morelos’ against Aberdeen – later overturned on appeal.

The Colombian also saw red on the night Jon Flanagan was sent off in Ufa, while Daniel Candeias has been sent off twice and Ross McCrorie and Scott Arfield were dismissed against St Mirren and Hearts respectively.

Rangers have responded well in adversity throughout the season but boss Gerrard knows those efforts could catch up with them at a later date.

"Yes, this morning,” he said when asked if he had spoken to his squad about the dismissals. “Look some red cards we have deserved, some we feel a little bit hard done by, but it is what it is. We've had seven red cards which is too many and we've told the players that.

“Now that's not my main concern because I am confident we can help the players and channel it in the right direction.

“We want them to be tough and compete and be fair and be as hard to play against as we can. But we have to make the players aware of the knock-on effect.

“We have played over 280 minutes with either ten men or nine. Now we have coped very well in those circumstances but it's the knock-on effect it has.

“Players have to work hard in those minutes, they do more sprints, more accelerations and decelerations so it has more strain on the body so that makes it more of a high risk of injuries.

“We also lose key players for important fixtures in the future, so it's not just the isolated incidents that concern us, it's the knock-on effect it has on the squad."

Rangers recovered from the dismissal of Arfield to see out their game at Tynecastle on Sunday as a 2-1 win took them top of the Premiership.

And Gerrard won’t attribute the red card record to a desire to be successful this season as his side bid for domestic glory.

He said: “No. That has to be a given. It’s a non-negotiable here. It has to be a given.

“We don’t want the players to go over the top, we want them to be fair and I don’t think we are a dirty team.

“We have players who will compete, but Daniel has had two red cards and he’s not a dirty player.

“Scott Arfield isn’t a dirty player, but he made a mistake and he will be punished for it and rightly so.

“It is what it is, but we have to all as a group improve our disciplinary.

“It’s a bit of a surprise and a shock that we have had that many, but, at times, we have haven’t deserved a couple, so it obviously looks a lot worse that it is.”