Rangers manager Steven Gerrard issued a personal guarantee that top scorer Alfredo Morelos will not be sold in the January transfer window after watching the Colombian striker net twice in the 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final win over Hearts.
Morelos’ double at Hampden took his goals tally for the season to 20, again underlining his importance to Gerrard’s side.
The 23-year-old has made no secret of his ambition to play in the English Premier League and Aston Villa have been linked with a bid for him in January.
But Gerrard could not have been more emphatic in his insistence Morelos, under contract until 2023, will be staying put for at least the rest of this season.
“I’m not confident, I’m sure (about it),” said Gerrard. “I’m 100 percent sure he is not going anywhere.”
Gerrard can now look forward to the first major final of his managerial career when Rangers face holders Celtic in the Betfred Cup showpiece at Hampden on 8 December. But he sought to play down the personal significance of the win against Hearts.
“It needs to be about the players, it shouldn’t be about me after a performance like that,” he said.
“As Rangers manager, you are under constant pressure from game to game. I have to accept that and I’m aware of it. But it’s what I’m here for. I came here for challenges like today. I really enjoyed the challenge and I will look forward to the final but there will be plenty of time to talk about that.
“The final will be quite an occasion. There will be plenty of time to speak about it and who it’s against. But today is all about Rangers and us performing ever so well and the lads should enjoy it.
“I told them before the game that it’s so easy to be caught up in semi-finals, with ticket requests for Hampden and all the nonsense that comes with the occasion.
“You can only enjoy the occasion if you go and perform and win. So tonight is all about them relaxing and enjoying themselves. They have a day off on Monday, then we reset and go onto the next challenge which is Porto in the Europa League on Thursday.
“I’m delighted, I thought the performance today was very strong. We dominated the majority of the game, showed great control and scored the first goal at a very good time just before half-time.
“The game opened up more in the second half and we could show a lot more quality. I thought we looked dangerous every time we went forward. I don’t think anyone can say we don’t deserve to be in the final.”