Rangers strikers will still be reeling from the outcome of their 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat to Hearts before they remember that Alfredo Morelos missed the game due to a disciplinary issue.
The Colombian talisman was a noticeable absentee as Rangers toiled in Gorgie, with the club struggling for an attacking out ball on a day when Hearts pressed the Gers high in their own half.
It’s the kind of match which was crying out for the 29-goal striker’s influence, but Steven Gerrard revealed pre-match he was set to miss the tie because of disciplinary measures.
🔵 Steven Gerrard explains Morelos' absence today, and makes it clear just how much today's match means to Rangers
🗣 "Alfredo is not with us today because of a disciplinary issue." pic.twitter.com/ZliEeDFDXb
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) February 29, 2020
“Alfredo is not with us today because of a disciplinary issue,” said Gerrard [Premier Sports].
“He was given permission to go to Colombia from Sunday to Wednesday to deal with a family matter, which we supported and agreed to.
“He failed to report to training on Thursday, which means he’s missed a lot of the preparation going into this game.
“I’ve decided to pick players that have done the full preparation and are desperate to be here and want to get us through to the next round.
“I don’t think I should say anything more. I’ve explained the situation nice and clearly.
“I’ll stay here as long as you want to talk about the players that are here.
“We’ve prepared really well for this and I’ve got every faith in the group of players I’ve brought.”
Morelos appears to have let the club down big time and the fact Steven Gerrard dropped the striker for such a big game shows the gravity of the situation.
With Florian Kamberi cup-tied and Jermain Defoe not long returned from injury, Gerrard was forced to start this crunch match without a recognised striker.
No wonder so many Rangers fans have been outspoken about the striker’s behaviour on Twitter:
No one player will ever be bigger than our club. Graeme Souness proved that time and time again, and I think Morelos will soon discover that Gerrard is cut from much the same cloth as Souness.
— Jeff Holmes (@JeffH1960) February 29, 2020
Gerrard just confirmed Morelos came back 24hrs late from Colombia. So Gerrard dropped him for "players who've done the full preparation and are dying to be here" 🤦♂️
— Buffalo Soldier (@RangersOnly4Me) February 29, 2020
For my money, SG gets the summer and a window to replace quality and learn that people aren’t undroppable. Recruit well and challenge, and for what it’s worth he was 100% about Morelos. He needs to consider that across the team more quickly and have talent to being in.
— Cammy Bell (@Beatthatbeat) February 29, 2020
I totally support SG decision re Morelos Teams need standards and discipline Alfie behaviour has been erratic
— Alan Carmichael (@AlanC_44) February 29, 2020
Time for Morelos to grow up.
— Chris McLaughlin (@Chr1sMcLaughlin) February 29, 2020
What’s important is we don’t turn on Morelos and start speculating. He could’ve been late for many reasons. This disciplinary action could be exactly what’s needed for him to be reminded how lucky he is to be at this club
— G (@garryhood1872) February 29, 2020
Have to fear for Morelos’ Rangers career now.
He’s quickly became a bigger problem than we need.
— Colin Armstrong (@moonman1873) February 29, 2020
And so he should have. Unless there’s a reason like a delay etc. There’s no excuse for blowing out his work. Regardless of who it is
— RM (@RWM118) February 29, 2020
Morelos for me is done at Rangers. He’s let us down far too many times. Take what we can in the summer & get this mess sorted once & for all.
— Dave (@Nimsay1872) March 1, 2020
I love Morelos but he's attitude is unacceptable if any other player turned up 24 hours late for any match let alone a cup match he'd be getting pelters, & it pains me to say that he doesn't wanna be here & no player is bigger than the club
— PSF 🇬🇧 (@Made_In_Ulster) March 1, 2020
Never known a rangers team in my lifetime to concede so many goals from shocking individual errors. A team at this level shouldn’t be making them. As everyone is feeling deflated and totally let down again by this squad of players. Morelos at the front of the queue
— GovanTrueBlues (@TrueGovan) March 1, 2020
Morelos isn’t the only one being subjected to the ire of Rangers fans either.