GARETH McAULEY insists it is time for senior players in the Rangers dressing room to lay down the law to ensure the club’s discipline worries don’t spiral out of control. The Ibrox side had a player sent off for the eighth time this season when Alfredo Morelos saw red against Aberdeen, just 24 hours after a warning from their manager Steven Gerrard to keep themselves out of trouble.

It didn’t help their efforts to stay top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table, although something has got to give when first-placed Kilmarnock take on third-placed Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday. The 39-year-old from Northern Ireland revealed last night that discussions have already been held amongst players to sort out the issue themselves as ultimately it will be they who need to keep themselves out of hot water with the SFA.

“This is a good dressing room,” said McAuley. “It is well policed around the training ground and in the dressing room. And we HAVE spoken about it even when the manager wasn’t in the dressing room. So it has been touched on but we need to nail that down because it could possibly cost us.”

As for the 1-0 defeat to the Pittodrie outfit on home turf which saw them supplanted by Kilmarnock at the summit of the Ladbrokes Premiership table, McAuley refused to lay the blame squarely at the door of Morelos. The little Colombian, who has now been sent off three times this season, got his marching orders for two challenges on Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie. While the first was innocuous enough, it may have been for an accumulation of fouls, while the second saw him catch Shinnie with a forearm across the face almost under the nose of referee McLean. As Gerrard himself admitted, substitute Kyle Lafferty too could have seen red for an elbow on Scott McKenna whilst already on a booking.

“We are not pointing fingers or anything like that,” said McAuley. “People play on the edge, you have to play on the edge to be a winner. But you also have a responsibility to have some self control. If you are in a situation when you are on a yellow card, you need to make sure you stay on the pitch for your team-mates. It made it tougher when Alfredo went off. He plays on the edge and has won us games before. The biggest disappointment is that we now lose him for a couple of games.”