Former Scotland international Charlie Nicholas was baffled Alfredo Morelos’ inclusion in the starting XI for Rangers’ League Cup final defeat to Celtic, speaking to the Scottish Express.

Gone are the days, it seems, when Rangers could just chuck a long ball up the field and expect their firebrand Colombian to bring it down, shrug off a nearby centre-back and drag the entire team up the pitch, turning defence into attack in an instant.

Morelos, his contract expiring in the summer, no longer appears to be the irrepressible force of old. And, while he did score Rangers’ consolation goal at Hampden Park, that was the 26-year-old’s only real moment of quality in another performance which highlighted just how far he’s fallen since Mick Beale’s first spell in the Ibrox dugout.

Rangers v Celtic - Viaplay Cup Final
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Alfredo Morelos could leave Rangers in the summer

“The League Cup Final must surely be Alfredo Morelos’ final stand,” Nicholas argues.

“I don’t know why Mick Beale has stood by him for so long. I know he scored at Hampden but the League Cup final defeat exposed his limitations. His contribution was zero. Morelos just doesn’t bring a danger to Celtic.

“If Morelos was to get 90 percent, then he would be up there when Rangers were doing well in the Europa League. He hasn’t hit those heights for some time. Beale, though, has kept playing him and playing him.”

Morelos’ fury told it’s own story when subbed off with 76 minutes gone on Sunday. Beale, according to The Athletic, is prioritising a new centre-forward in the summer and, with only a few months left on his contract, it remains to be seen if this was Morelos’ final appearance in a cup final in Rangers blue.

“Beale must see how short Morelos is leaving Rangers and that can be the difference in the big games. If he continues to stick by Morelos, then it could choke the Rangers manager,” Nicholas adds.

“Rangers under Beale will get stronger. But I do think he now realises it is a far bigger job than he first imagined.”

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