STEVEN Gerrard last night declared that Alfredo Morelos was “back with a bang” after watching the Rangers striker score twice in a 2-1 win over Aberdeen that sent his side 22 points clear in the Premiership.

Morelos, who had netted just once in 10 matches before yesterday’s match at Pittodrie, was on target in each half to take his tally for the 2020/21 campaign to 10.

Gerrard admitted he had been delighted with the Colombian, who picked up the Man of the Match award at the end of the 90 minutes, and predicted he will be an important player for the runaway league leaders in their final 15 matches.

“All of my front players looked dangerous today,” he said. “Ryan Kent was a threat throughout the game, Joe Aribo got another assist and Alfredo is back with a bang.

“That is probably the most pleasing thing, aside from the points. In terms of the job he has been doing for the team, he has been pretty selfless. The effort and application have been there.

“He has suffered a little bit, as most forwards do from time to time, with his confidence in front of goal. But you saw that return today. His two goals were excellent.

“There have been signs of it. He’s looked a lot more dangerous. He deserved his Man of the Match award and if we keep him in the place he is in now, he is going to be a huge help to us going forward.”

Rangers captain James Tavernier missed his first penalty kick in 10 attempts in the first-half when the score was 0-0 – but Gerrard stressed he had been pleased with his right back’s all-round performance and isn’t worried it will affect his confidence.

“It shows he's human,” he said. “He's an excellent penalty taker for sure, but he got that one wrong today. But we will still support him and back him.

“I think when you're a penalty taker, the reason you're selected is that it can't affect you whether it's successful or not. You've got to continue doing your job for the team and I thought he did that.”

Aberdeen were reduced to 10 men in the first-half when Ryan Hedges was sent off for tripping Morelos. Gerrard felt referee John Beaton had made the correct decision.

“He's about to put the ball in the net from five or six yards and he gets totally wiped out,” he said. “That's always been a red card and always will be because he's denying a goal-scoring opportunity. The red card is one million per cent right.”

Celtic, who have four games in hand, can reduce Rangers’ lead to 19 points in they beat Hibernian at Parkhead tonight. But Gerrard stressed Rangers would only be focusing on their next match.

“We don’t look at the gap, we don’t look at the points, we look at Motherwell next Sunday,” he said. “That’s the next challenge and we prepare for that.

“The idea today was to try and stretch that lead, of course it was. We came to do a job and win the game. There are a lot of games in hand with the situation, so we just enjoy this win and move forward.”

Gerrard admitted he was unhappy at how easily Matty Kennedy was able to pull a goal back for Aberdeen.

“The game got a little bit too easy for some of us,” he said. “We got a little bit gung-ho. We had too many bodies ahead of the ball and made some poor decisions in possession. We paid with one goal and could have paid again.

“I'm pleased with the win. It's another excellent win. But there are certainly some points within that performance that we can learn from.”