AS a player, Alfredo Morelos is the man and the striker that opposition fans love to hate. As a person, he is the husband and father that Steven Gerrard has helped nurture at Ibrox.

At 24, Morelos cannot be considered a kid anymore and there are still flaws to his character that shouldn't be dismissed because of his age or the fact that he is thousands of miles away from his family home in Colombia.

His fourth season in Scottish football will be his first successful one as Rangers close in on the Premiership title.

Glasgow Times: Rangers\' Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring their side\'s first goal of the game during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match at Easter Road

It has also been his most complete one overall as he continues to progress tactically and improve mentally.

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The wins over Royal Antwerp summed up both factors as he inspired Gerrard's side to victory.

Of the nine goals that Rangers scored, Morelos was involved in eight of them over two stunning performances on the Europa League stage.


An incident at Ibrox also caught the eye, though. Morelos would stop playing when he saw defender Jeremy Gelin pull up with an injury and the act of kindness and sportsmanship rightly received acclaim across the game.

“I see real signs of maturity," Gerrard said. “He’s a player who is trying extra hard to evolve as a person as well as becoming a better player by really working on his game.

“I have to give him credit for that because I’m someone who has been really strong with him, on the one-v-one.

“I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this kid and it made me proud seeing that [when he stopped the game].It’s a sign of maturity in there.

“I think his family life has really helped that. Being at home with his wife has helped that.


"So there are people around Alfredo who have played a major role in trying to help him grow and become a better person and player. And I think that was a big sign that that was the case.

“Look, the way he plays the game, he’s one who plays on the edge. He is going to make mistakes and I think we all have to appreciate that.

“But I’ve been around him an awful lot and I analyse him closer than most.

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"There is definitely improvement in him, not just as a player but as a human being as well.

“And that’s great to see because myself and the staff, and also his team-mates, have put a lot of work into trying to help him and guide him in the right direction.”

The first leg win in Belgium a fortnight ago saw Morelos return to action after serving a three-game suspension following the retrospective punishment that was issued for his stamp on Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous.


Rangers have now scored 13 times in their last four outings against Antwerp and Dundee United and head into the Premiership fixture at Livingston this evening with real momentum as they show their class in the final third.

Gerrard said: "I think it’s been a combination of a lot of things. Alfredo was disappointed to miss games, he always is.

"We expected him to come back and make up for lost time and I think he is really in the groove. He is smiling and enjoying his football.

"We all know that the Europa League really brings the best out of him. I think his form has been a bit mixed from a domestic point of view.

"But from the minute we have walked in the door, his Europa League performances and the level of consistency has been really phenomenal.

"We need Alfredo to stay in the groove from now until the end of the season because that could be a big help to us in terms of our success and the outcome of the season.

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"Also, it’s helped having people behind behind him in top form and fit and available.

"Ryan Kent has three in three now. He’s back in the groove. Joe Aribo is back to full fitness, scoring goals and looking a real threat.

Glasgow Times: Rangers' Ianis Hagi (centre) celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox

"Plus, Ianis Hagi has been consistent in his contribution for some time now.

"Adding Scott Wright to that, we have people in our forward positions who are in form and who are fit and fresh and ready.

"I think those are the reasons why we have scored a lot of goals in the last few games."

Rangers have had plenty of time to prepare for their return to domestic action and the meeting with Livingston is the first of three league games this month. Just seven points now stand between Gerrard and the title.

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The Premiership will be clinched sooner rather than later for Rangers but there is a determination to finish in style and to really emphasise their superiority in the latter stages of a dominant campaign.

"I think from a recovery point of view, it helps the lads come into this one really fresh," Gerrard said. "But I’ve said before that we are used to busy schedules anyway.

"We are ready to go. We’ve had a couple of good days going into this one and it’s a really important fixture for us so the players are really looking forward to it.

"I think I have to give the players credit in terms of finding a way to win. That’s what we have done.

"Since the draw at Hamilton, I have seen a real strong reaction from the lads in terms of going out and winning games and finding a way.

"We are at a stage of the season where results are the priority. But what I will say is that our two performances in Europe have been really strong from an attacking point of view and I have been really pleased with that.

"We have adapted from game to game and got the outcomes we are looking for. There has been a big reaction to the disappointment against Hamilton."