In their first match without the Colombian international forward, who faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines because of a calf injury sustained on international duty last week, Rangers lost 2-1 to a Celtic side who are now six points clear at the top of the Premiership table with just six rounds of fixtures remaining.
Hateley feels not enough was done to strengthen the Rangers squad after they claimed their first title in a decade last season under Steven Gerrard and claims it could take several more transfer windows for current manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst to make his own imprint on the team.
“At this stage of the season, you need everybody fit who is going to be having an impact on winning stuff,” Hateley told Sky Sports News. “Goalscorers more so than any. A figure like him (Morelos) missing is a big loss.
“Have we relied on him too much? Possibly so. Why have we relied on him too much? Probably because of a lack of investment carrying on from the end of last season.
“These are all questions being bandied out there. I always say we have to build from a place of strength, we did that when I played here.
“The squad is a good squad but we haven’t brought any fresh blood in. It is always good to bring in fresh blood of a quality that is going to challenge for a first team spot. It keeps everyone focused and on their toes, it keeps the fans happy as well.
“A new manager coming in, he’s had a (transfer) window. A manager coming in at this level, with these demands, will probably need three or four (windows) to put his mark onto the football club.
“It’s important now to focus on the next game. I think that’s what Gio will be doing. He’s got to gather everyone together again for a massive game (against Braga in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final) on Thursday.
“This is what this club is. The fans demand it and this is what the players should be demanding of themselves.”
Hateley said nature of Rangers’ loss to Celtic came as no great surprise in the context of their overall form this season.
“I asked five or six friends after the game ‘were you surprised by the outcome?’ – and they said ‘not really’,” he added.
“So we are in a situation where we can play incredibly well as we have done over the period, especially last season. On and off this season, a little bit erratic.
“But as you cast your mind back a month or so ago to Dortmund – that sort of performance is in this Rangers side.
“Take yourself back to the first five minutes of the game yesterday, that performance looked like it was on again. So we are quite capable of getting performances but it’s been a little bit sporadic this season.”