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Clarke disappointed that Gerrard 'got personal'

The Kilmarnock manager said he was raising valid questions about consistency of decisions.

Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke has defended his right to talk about refereeing decisions and said he doesn't understand why Steven Gerrard made his response "personal".

Earlier this week, Clarke raised a number of incidents from across the weekend's games as he discussed consistency of decision making by referees and the Scottish FA. He raised the fact that Kilmarnock's Jordan Jones had been banned for diving earlier this season and drew comparisons with an incident in Rangers' 4-0 win over St Mirren, where they were awarded four penalties.

Clarke said that he hoped the Scottish FA's compliance officer would "do her job" in relation to the game. That angered Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, who said his former coach lacked "class" and shouldn't be interfering in games that don't involve his team.

The Kilmarnock manager said he had been at pains not to name players and had made his comments about a wider point.

"I'm a little bit disappointed that Steven came back more personal than I had made the original comment," Clarke said.

"I made wide-ranging comments about consistency and I have been consistent in asking for consistency since August.

"I mentioned some incident. No names. I didn't name anybody, there were no names from me.

"I mentioned the fact that one of our players and another player, I didn't mention the name, were involved in similar incidents. I just asked for consistency in the process.

"I criticised the media. I said there was a media witch hunt against our player, which there was. It was ridiculous, it went on for a full week and felt like a month. The head of refereeing got involved, supporters got involved. it was crazy.

"Then the compliance officer got involved and my player got a two match ban. Okay. We accepted it and moved on. I just want consistency.

"If, in asking for that consistency, I have to upset a fellow manager of another club, then that's what I have to do because that's my job.

"Why Steven came back personal, I'm not too sure.

"Class is subjective. I'm 55 years of age. I've got no worries about how I live my life, personally or professionally.

"That doesn't bother me."

The incident that Clarke appeared to be alluding to was a penalty awarded to Rangers when Jermain Defoe went down in the box. No retrospective action was taken by the Scottish FA and Clarke said he wasn't surprised.

"I don't think the outcome is consistent," he added. "I can only ask and will continue to ask.

"What I will try and do between now and the end of the season will lay off a little bit because anybody who wants to understand the point I am trying to make will already understand it, anyone who doesn't understand the point I will try to make will never understand."

Kilmarnock are now preparing to host Rangers in the Scottish Cup fifth round and Clarke is hopeful that his side's 2-1 Premiership win last month will be a boost.

He said: "It is always nice when you have had a recent victory over one of your big opponents.

"Obviously it was a good day for us because we won the game but it will be a tough challenge for both teams."

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