Ally McCoist reveals Rangers concerns over missing Alfredo Morelos ahead of Champions League opener against Malmo

Ally McCoist believes the absence of Alfredo Morelos from Rangers’ opening Champions League qualifier in Malmo is a significant worry for the Ibrox club.

Former Rangers striker and manager Ally McCoist (left) with Alfredo Morelos (centre) and Kris Boyd after the Ibrox club's Premiership trophy day celebrations in May. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Colombian international striker Morelos has yet to rejoin full training with Steven Gerrard’s squad after completing quarantine requirements on his return to the UK following international duty at the Copa America in Brazil last month.

The 25-year-old was not among the Rangers squad which flew out from Glasgow Airport on Monday afternoon for the first leg of their third qualifying round tie in Sweden on Tuesday evening.

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Morelos has been a hugely influential performer for Rangers in Europe under Gerrard over the previous three campaigns. Last season, he eclipsed McCoist as the club’s all-time record European goalscorer and now has 23 to his credit.

Rangers are also without English forward Kemar Roofe in Malmo as he starts a four-match Uefa suspension, leaving either Swiss international striker Cedric Itten or summer signing Fashion Sakala to lead the line.

“I can’t lie to you, I’d much rather Rangers were going into the game with a fully fit and firing Alfredo Morelos,” said former Ibrox boss McCoist.

“That is a concern - and maybe that lack of a killer instinct up front would be Steven’s only real concern at the moment. But it is what it is and there’s no doubt Rangers have the strength and depth to cope.

“Fashion Sakala looked sharp against Livingston on Saturday and he certainly has a lot of pace. But he might take a bit of time to settle and that’s perfectly understandable and acceptable.

“I would take Rangers getting a draw over in Malmo, I’ll tell you that right now.”

But McCoist is encouraged by the goal threat Rangers’ possess in other areas of Gerrard’s team and feels winger Ryan Kent and attacking midfielder Scott Wright, a scorer in the 3-0 win over Livingston, can have an impact against Malmo.

“Kent offers you something different, “added McCoist. “He offers something different compared with anyone else in Scottish football. He can create goals and I think Rangers will score over there. There’s no doubt Scott Wright’s brilliant strike will have helped his confidence too going into the game.”

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