Kenny Miller: Ibrox new boy Morelos has predator's instinct

One of the most glaring '¨on-field deficiencies at Rangers since their return to the top flight of Scottish football has been the lack of a reliably prolific striker.

In Alfredo Morelos, the Ibrox club have perhaps found the player to take up that mantle. The 21-year-old Colombian has scored five goals in his first seven appearances for Rangers, his contribution the most encouraging aspect of a generally less than convincing start to the season for Pedro Caixinha’s squad.

Kenny Miller was the last man to break the 20 league goals barrier in the top division of Scottish football for Rangers, netting 21 in the 2010-11 campaign which was the last time they won the title.

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Miller, who, at 37, is still keen to play his own part as the current side try to regain former glories, has been impressed by his junior strike partner Morelos so far.

“He’s going to get better over the course of the season, but what we’ve had early doors is that he’s managed to get us goals,” said Miller.

“That’s great for him to settle his way into the team, so long may that continue while his form and understanding of his team-mates is only going to improve over the course of the season.

“You can never tell how good he’s going to become, but the fact he has managed to score early on is a big plus. You can see the type of player he is. He’s got predatory instincts. He’ll improve, not only by understanding his team-mates, but also with experience as he gets older.

“He’ll work out what he needs to do to help his team-mates and, as team-mates, we need to understand what all the new lads in the squad want as well to help them. But the fact Alfredo is a goal-getter is a nice habit to have.”

Morelos left his homeland as a teenager to join HJK Helsinki, scoring 46 goals in 62 appearances for the Finnish club before Rangers recruited him for a fee of around £1 million this summer.

Miller, whose own career travels have seen him have spells in Turkey and North America, appreciates what is required to settle into a new environment.

“For a start, you are on your own when you first arrive,” he said. “You’ve got team-mates you can latch on to and other people around who can maybe help you through it.

“We have lads in the dressing room who speak Alfredo’s language and will all help each other get through their opening months here.

“It’s different for a young lad. I mean he’s only 21 years old, so it’s always going to be hard for him but he has settled pretty well.

“They’re a good group of lads within the dressing room, so we’ll do whatever we can to help the lad settle in. But, 
firstly and most importantly he is performing on the park and has got off to a flier with his goals.

“For me, wherever I have gone – whether it be Turkey, Canada or just down in England – I was always focused on the football. No matter what happened away from the pitch I was focused on my game. But it is hard when you’re moving away from friends and family and you’re out there on your own. But he has a good club behind him to help him settle.

“Football bridges languages and you can still build up an understanding with someone on the pitch but, obviously, it always helps when you can communicate well. That’s a big part of our game, but again that will improve over the course of the season.

“But personally for him it’s been a good start to his Rangers career with his goals and obviously for the team. We need to start putting wins together.”

September promises to be a significant month for Caixinha and Rangers. It begins with Saturday’s Premiership meeting with Dundee at Ibrox before back-to-back assignments at Partick Thistle in the league and Betfred Cup quarter-final and the first Old Firm showdown of the season at home to Celtic.

“Every month is big for us,” said Miller. “It’s been a mixed bag for us so far and we have to go through months winning every game over the course of the season if we are going to have any success. The next game is always the most important game, so we are focused on Saturday and getting that first home win.

“We have got two league games before we play Celtic and also a quarter-final. You always have one eye on those games and, in Scottish football, it is the one fixture that people look for, to see when the first Old Firm of the season is. We are no different but we are focused on the job in hand, which is getting some wins before that. It would be great to go into that game off the back of three league wins and reaching the semi-final of the cup.”

l Kenny Miller was speaking as Rangers received an Autism Friendly Award from the National Autistic Society for their Broxi’s Den facility at Ibrox for supporters with learning difficulties and sensory challenges.