Alfredo Morelos: Rangers striker in major battle to face Celtic as Colombia send striker back to Scotland

Doubts are intensifying over the availability of key Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos for Sunday’s pivotal Old Firm clash against Celtic after Colombia sent him back to Scotland due to an injury issue.

The 25-year-old was called up by Colombia manager Reinaldo Rueda for this month’s crucial World Cup qualifiers, with Los Cafeteros facing a serious battle to reach the finals in Qatar later this year.

However, Morelos was not included in the match-day squad for Thursday’s 3-0 win over Bolivia and he will now not take part in Wednesday morning’s do-or-die clash against Venezuela in Cuidad Guayana, with Colombia needing to win and requiring Peru to either draw or lose at home to Paraguay – who have nothing but pride to play for – to get a spot in the play-offs.

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Morelos has not been a regular fixture in Rueda’s matchday squad but had been expected to play some part in this international window. He is now though on a plane back to Glasgow to nurse a thigh injury, with Rangers hoping that he will recover sufficiently to play Celtic on April 3.

Rangers' Alfredo Morelos was not part of the Colombia matchday squad to face Bolivia and has now been sent home.

A statement from the Colombian FA on Morelos’ condition read: "The technical and medical staff of the Colombia Men's Senior National Team reports that, after performing medical tests on player Alfredo Morelos, a muscle injury in the left thigh was confirmed, which prevented him from participating in the previous match against Bolivia and likewise does not allow him to participate in the next match of the Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

"For this reason, the striker is called off to start his recovery work. We wish the player a good return to his club."

With just seven matches remaining in the cinch Premiership, next Sunday’s match between defending champions Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox will go a long way to defining where the title ends up this season.

Celtic currently lead their fierce Glasgow rivals by three points and won the last match between the two teams 3-0 at the start of February, with Morelos also absent that day.

Morelos has been a key player for Rangers under manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Morelos has rediscovered his form under current Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst and has played a big part in the club’s challenge to Celtic and their progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

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