Glasgow (AFP) – Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic cruised to a 2-0 victory over Hibernian, while Alfredo Morelos clinched Rangers’ 2-0 win at Motherwell before the volatile striker endured more red card misery on Sunday.
Morelos followed Nikola Katic’s first-half opener with his 27th goal of the season midway through the second half as Rangers ended a run of three games without a victory.
But the Colombian star, who was sent off five times last season, let his emotions get the better of him as he aimed an inflammatory gesture at the home supporters during his celebrations and was punished with a second yellow card.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has been keen to praise Morelos’ new-found self-control this term, but the Ibrox boss will now have to turn to Jermain Defoe for Friday’s trip to Hibernian.
“It’s the first setback Alfredo’s had after huge, huge improvements so we’ll reset that but we certainly have no complaints,” Gerrard said of referee Don Robertson’s decision.
“As I said, we have no complaints about the red card but I felt he was desperate to give out a red card today. I had that feeling from the side, which is unfortunate because our player does get that type of abuse.
“Alfredo was unplayable. It is a setback today, he knows that, we know that. I’m sure he hates getting punished in the pocket so hopefully he will get back on the horse and continue to improve in that area.”
Rangers got the opener from Borna Barisic’s outswinging corner after 27 minutes.
Bevis Mugabi was supposed to be keeping tabs on Katic but found himself being dragged along as the Croatia defender bulldozed through to power home with a header.
Motherwell’s Liam Donnelly and Rangers’ Ryan Jack had to be separated as the players went down the tunnel at half-time.
When the teams returned after the interval both Jack and Declan Gallagher were cautioned.
The result was beyond doubt after 68 minutes as Morelos showed the positive side of his game.
He did brilliantly to collect Joe Aribo’s cut-back before spinning away from Gallagher to fire past Gillespie.
But with the Colombian already on a booking after a late challenge on Jake Carroll, he left Robertson with no choice but to send him off as he aimed an offensive gesture at Motherwell supporters.
At Parkhead, champions Celtic were back to full strength after a host of players missed the Europa League dead rubber against Cluj on Thursday.
Neil Lennon’s side responded strongly after Rangers’ win earlier in the day and opened the scoring through right-back Jeremie Frimpong six minutes before the interval.
French striker Odsonne Edouard, also back in the team, doubled the lead in the 66th minute and it could have been a more comfortable victory for the Hoops.
They will settle for going back two points clear of Rangers, with the chance to increase that lead against struggling Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday.
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