Rangers’ Gerrard hails goal-scoring Morelos for pulling his socks up


Glasgow (AFP) – Alfredo Morelos was praised by Rangers coach Steven Gerrard just days after being given a talking to as his double helped Rangers to a 3-0 victory over St Mirren in their Scottish Premiership clash on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Colombia forward’s head had been turned according to Gerrard by a bid from Ligue 1 side Lille and resulted in a poor performance in the Europa League loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday.

The French outfit had tabled a second bid reported to be £16.25 million ($21.2 million) for the striker, who cost Rangers £1 million when they signed him from Finnish outfit HJK in 2017.      

Morelos, though, single-handedly ensured Rangers made it two wins from two league games — his low cross being turned into his own goal by Conor McCarthy in the first-half.

Morelos ended his 10 game goal drought — dating back to February’s Scottish Cup win at Hamilton — with a quickfire double in the second-half.

Rangers day got even better in the later match as bitter rivals and champions Celtic were held to a 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock. 

Celtic trail Hibernian, Rangers and Ross County by two points.

“I thought his (Morelos) focus was really strong,” said Gerrard.

“I did have a private chat with Alfredo about his own performance (after the Leverkusen match). He acknowledged the fact that he could have been better.

“Alfredo was well aware that he needed to perform a little bit better. He certainly showed a great reaction today, though.”

Gerrard has covered himself up front in case Morelos does leave by investing in both Cedric Itten and Kemar Roofe earlier this week.

The Liverpool legend, though, said it was more to keep the forwards on their toes and not take their place for granted.

“The competition is hotting up but that’s the way it should be at Rangers,” he said.

“No-one should feel comfortable and feel the shirt is theirs. They’ve got to earn it and perform at a level where you make a manager pick you.”

His Celtic counterpart Neil Lennon blamed his side’s dropped points on them lacking precision in front of goal.  

Ryan Christie opened the scoring for the champions with a delightful freekick but Kilmarnock levelled later in the first-half, former Scotland international Chris Burke converting from the penalty spot.

“The second half was all about ‘could we break them down’ and unfortunately we couldn’t,” Lennon told the BBC.

“We knew the way Kilmarnock would play but we lacked that killer touch.”

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