THE scoring burden has weighed heavily on the shoulders of Alfredo Morelos throughout his Rangers career. Now, the responsibility can be shared at least four ways at Ibrox.

The Colombian will still have a significant part to play, of course, but there is no longer the need to demand as much, both in terms of minutes and goals, from the man that has been so integral to Steven Gerrard’s side.

Backup was provided by Jermain Defoe last term but the requirement for further reinforcements was clear as Gerrard entered his third summer transfer window. With the signings of Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten, he has given himself options, both in terms of personnel and in style, for this defining campaign.

It was Defoe that started, and scored, against Livingston on Sunday, while Roofe and Itten came off the bench. Morelos, in a rare occurrence, was not required, but he could lead the line when Lech Poznan visit Ibrox in the Europa League this evening.

Rangers had become too reliant on a striker that couldn’t always be relied upon but that is no longer the case now that Gerrard has the strength and depth that has been required for some time.

“It wasn’t for Alfredo, but for Rangers and for our ambitions to be successful as a team and a group of players,” Gerrard said of the decision to add to his forward line this season.

“When you are trying to build a squad, you can’t do it with just one number nine or even with two number nines.

“When you are looking at a season when you are hoping to play around 60 games, you need to have numerous options.

“Strikers pick up injuries and suspensions, they go off form or lose a bit of sharpness. So it’s important you have options, people who can take the baton when others are maybe not in a good place.

“Now is the first time we’ve been in that position this season since we made the acquisitions of Itten and Roofe. The competition is really healthy.

“I see them competing against each other in training, which is good to see. Hopefully that continues to the end of the season.”

It would be wrong to suggest that Rangers had become a one man team at times over the last two seasons but there is no doubt that Gerrard’s side suffered when Morelos wasn’t firing.

His goals last term were vital to Rangers’ remarkable European endeavours but, after scoring twice against Lincoln Red Imps, he failed to find the net in the wins over Willem II, Galatasaray or Standard Liege.

The 24-year-old is no longer guaranteed to start irrespective of his form or his mindset. Rangers will be stronger for that, and Gerrard hopes his star striker will be, too.

“Time will tell over the course of the season,” he said. “It’s fantastic for me to be in the position of having the quality and options I have available.

“It’s a challenge for all of them to stay in form, stay sharp and keep themselves in a good place.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that it’s the players who are in a good place, good form and ring goals are the ones likely to get the most minutes.

“We have been heavily reliant on Alfredo for a large part of the last couple of years. We are in a better place now, we have other options, so that should be helpful to Alfredo and the other boys.”

It is not just in the striking department where Gerrard now has a quality and depth that just hasn’t been there during his first two seasons and this easily is the strongest squad Rangers have assembled since 2012.

James Tavernier has nine goals to his credit, while Ryan Kent has five and the likes of Ianis Hagi, Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo are all more than capable of chipping in and playing their part.

Gerrard will rightly look to keep talk of increased expectations at bay but there is no doubt that there are plenty of encouraging signs at Ibrox following a terrific start to the campaign.

“There is definitely a belief amongst the boys,” Gerrard said. “The training level is really intense at the moment.

“Everyone wants to play, which is great for me. Everyone is desperate to be involved. That normally brings out the best of form.

“The players that have got the shirt at the moment, or are playing more than others, realise that they need to stay in a good place and stay confident. They know there are people breathing down their neck in every position.

“You can see in the full-back position, the young lads are pushing extremely hard. We’ve got four strong centre-backs who are all capable of playing. We’ve got two good goalkeepers. We’ve now got the five options in midfield that we felt we needed.

“And that’s not even putting Joe Aribo in that bracket. He’s capable of playing down the line as well.

“And the forward areas is where we’ve got the most numbers. So the message to the players is, when you’re picked, you have to deliver because, if you find yourself out of the team, it could be a long way back. There are quality players all over the squad now."