RANGERS manager Steven Gerrard has defended referee Steven McLean for phoning him to apologise for making a mistake in the 1-1 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road last week.

Paul Heckingbottom, the Hibs manager, described that decision as “crazy” and “foolish” and urged the SPFL to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

However, Gerrard, who was annoyed that McLean had failed to penalise Stephane Omeonga in for a foul on Rangers captain James Tavernier in the build-up to the Hibs goal, has described the conduct of the match official and SFA Head of Refereeing John Fleming as “professional”.

“I admire the conversation I had with John Fleming,” he said. “I went to see the officials 15 minutes after the game. That’s the rules. We had a professional conversation. I spoke to John Fleming who was apologetic and then I received a call from Steven McLean who was apologetic.

“I admire the fact these people in the game are honest in analysing their own performance and we move on. But it was a tough phone call to take. There was an honesty that he got it wildly wrong. So feelings wise it was a mixed conversation to have.

Asked about Heckingbottom’s remarks, Gerrard said: “‘I think most interviews I see with managers speaking about referees and officials they criticise them for not being honest and open.

“I did not want to make that call public. It should have been a call that stays off the record. But if Paul wants to put it in the air that’s his decision. I can’t control that.

"But there will be time when Paul is on the other side of a decision and he may wasn't an explanation. But I admire the official and the head of referees for how they handled that situation.”