HAVING watched Alfredo Morelos terrorise defences and plunder goals both at home and abroad for the past three seasons, Rangers fans have rather high expectations of their strikers once again these days.

So Cedric Itten, the Swiss forward who joined the Glasgow club last week, will need to play to a very high standard and net regularly domestically and in Europe in the coming months in order to earn their approval.

If Morelos departs during this transfer window, he will have some very big boots to fill up front. If the Colombian remains, he will have stiff competition for a place in the starting line-up. Either way, he will be under pressure to perform.

It could be a daunting prospect for Itten, a £3m capture from St Gallen, who has moved abroad for the first time in his career.

Yet, 23-year-old has overcome serious adversity before and is confident that he is prepared both physically and mentally for the considerable challenges which lie ahead for him here.

He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury two years ago following a horrific challenge by Lugano defender Fabio Daprela which the offending player received a six match ban for.

“I couldn’t play for seven months,” said Itten. “I had to work a lot on my body and learn a lot, about how my knee works and everything else.

“It was a very hard time to only be able to watch football and not help the team. But I worked a lot on my body and also mentally to make sure I was ready when I came back. I think I learned a lot to keep up that level of work for the rest of my career.

“Of course at the time it was difficult. I knew that it would probably be an ACL injury because I felt the pain. Also, with the way the tackle was.

“But I tried to keep going and say to myself that I had this time to work on myself and get better. You don’t usually have seven months to just work on you.

“I was very happy that I came back like I did. I felt really strong. When I came back, I was immediately able to play again and then I got my first experience with the national team. Everything went well and I think I made progress in that time.”

The 6ft 2in player, who made his debut in a 3-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox on Sunday that Morelos netted two goals in when he came on as a second-half substitute, welcomes the presence of “El Buffalo” at Rangers and believes he will benefit from training and playing alongside him.

“Morelos is a big player for this club,” he said. “He scored two goals in the last game and also before he has scored many goals for Rangers.

“I will try to learn from him, to play with him and connect with him. Perhaps we play together. I think competition is good. It’s always important to have good players and that is the way to get better.”

Itten, who will also have to vie with fellow new boy Kemar Roofe and Jermain Defoe for a place in Steven Gerrard’s side, has experience of playing at a major club before. He helped Basel win the Swiss Super League in 2016 after breaking into the first team at St Jakob Park as a teenager. He is hopeful that will prove invaluable.

“Like Rangers, Basel is a big club where there is always a big expectation from the fans,” he said. “It was really nice for me to win the title in my first season with the pros. We also played in the Champions League and Europa League so I have a little bit of experience of that environment as well.

“Clearly, there is also a big expectation from the fans at Rangers because this is a huge club. Rangers is such a huge club so I am very happy to have signed and to be here. I have had a lot to take in over the past week.

“I’ve seen and worked at the training facilities, which are amazing. All the players, management and staff members have given me a very warm welcome. To see Ibrox was great and I’ve already had my first experience of playing there. It was a very busy week but a very nice week.

“I didn’t ask anyone specifically about Scottish football before I came here. I just spoke to my manager. Then when I spoke to the manager here and all the staff at Rangers I was very happy. I could see straight away that is a very big and ambitious club that wants to have a lot of success. That really impressed me because that is what I want in my career as well.

“I think the manager expects to see me play the same way as I did at St Gallen. That’s why they brought me here. It’s very nice for him to say that he thinks I can be a big player. It’s a big honour.”

Itten has represented Switzerland twice at full international level in the past too – he scored in Euro 2020 qualifiers against both Georgia and Gibraltar last year - and is optimistic that featuring for Rangers will increase his chances of being selected for his country.

“For sure, every player wants to play for the national team,” he said. “I’m happy that I have made two appearances, but I think to play for a big club like Rangers can help a lot to be in the squad and the national team. It is up to me to work hard and try to play here. Hopefully after that I can also be with the national team.”