Rangers reaction: Union Bears need to think again, Alfredo Morelos finished at Ibrox, ban escape

Three observations from Rangers’ 3-0 win over Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals …

Fan protest

"Is this a library?" the Raith Rovers fans sang as Ibrox at times resembled one on Sunday in the absence of the decibel-raising Union Bears ultras group. The faction of Rangers supporters who are housed in section BF1 of the Broomloan Stand, who are known for their non-stop chanting, banners, tifos and pyros, were noticable by their absence as it emerged that they were staging a protest by remaining outside the stadium after being prevented from displaying an "offensive" banner. Rangers and Police Scotland had decided that the group had gone too far with a banner that reportedly depicted a policeman as a pig. The Union Bears described the move as "a clear breakdown of trust and an attempt to silence our group's valid concerns." It comes after recent banner displays targeted at manager Michael Beale, director of football Ross Wilson and managing director Stewart Robertson. While the Union Bears, and their Green Brigade counterparts across the city at Celtic Park, do add to the atmosphere at games, by flaunting stadium regulations in relation to pyrotechnics and offensive or provocative banners, they only have themselves to blame if their club or the police decide to take action. Once these fans’ groups realise that their ability to create an atmosphere doesn't give them special privileges over and above any other supporters, then there should be no need for such walkouts as the one that robbed Ibrox of some of its usual colour and noise on Sunday.

Morelos finished

Rangers fan group, Union Bears, leave their seats empty in protest at the club during the Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Raith.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)Rangers fan group, Union Bears, leave their seats empty in protest at the club during the Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Raith.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Rangers fan group, Union Bears, leave their seats empty in protest at the club during the Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Raith. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

It is becoming near impossible to imagine Alfredo Morelos remaining at Rangers beyond the end of the season. The Colombian is out of contract in the summer and, reading between the lines, it seems that neither party are all that keen on reaching an agreement. Morelos is certainly not giving off the vibe of a player who wants to stay. As the full-time whistle sounded after his 12-minute substitute appearance towards the end of the 3-0 win over Raith, the 26-year-old cut an isolated figure as he put his head down and walked straight down the tunnel, while the rest of his Rangers team-mates, both starters and substitutes, all stayed on the pitch to congratulate each other on the win and applaud the home fans for their support. After falling firmly out of favour under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, it appeared Morelos may have been on the path towards redemption under Michael Beale as he showed glimpses of rediscovering form while still looking some way off his best. However, Beale has now gone the same route as his predecessor by dropping Morelos in favour of Antonio Colak and demanding more from the sulky South American. "He has been at the club for a long time and I need to see a little bit more from Alfredo day in, day out," Beale said after Sunday's match. "When he's played when the team has needed him, he's fine. But I want some more energy in the final third. Can he provide that? If he can, then he is a better option than what he has been in the last few months. I just think that's fair. Everything I am saying here has been told to his face as well."

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Beale was unable to confirm or deny the reports of a pre-contract agreement having been signed with Sevilla. Whether true or not, it's looking increasingly safe to assume that Morelos' days at Rangers are numbered.

Suspension escape

Rangers escaped the prospect of a costly suspension for Connor Goldson, Borna Barisic and Glen Kamara as all three avoided picking up a booking against Raith that would have ruled them out of the Scottish Cup semi-finals. It was the reason why Kamara was left on the bench for the full match, and why both Goldson and Barisic were replaced on the 66 minute mark with Rangers already two goals to the good. Michael Beale said afterwards: "There was an element of, it's a quarter-final you need to get through, but at the same time you want to protect yourself because of the next round as well. That's why Connor didn't play in the previous round against Partick Thistle. All that's moving pieces in the background." The good news for those Rangers players on a booking, which also now includes John Lundstram and Todd Cantwell after the pair were cautioned against Raith, is that the slate is now wiped clean and a yellow card received in the semi-final would not carry a suspension for the final.



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