Why 'weight of Rangers title bid' is on Alfredo Morelos' shoulders against 'breathtaking' Celtic

Rangers legend Brian Laudrup believes his former club's title bid rests on the shoulders of Alfredo Morelos.

The Colombian missed the draw with Ross County and 3-0 defeat at Celtic having been called up on international duty but returned to score two goals in a 5-0 win over Morelos.

The brace took him to 15 goals for the season, seven of those coming since Giovanni van Bronckhorst replaced Steven Gerrard.

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More than just goals, against Hearts he displayed his importance to the team with his all-round play and key to the team's build-up.

Rangers star Alfredo Morelos. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Rangers star Alfredo Morelos. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Rangers star Alfredo Morelos. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Laudrup looks at Van Bronckhorst's other attacking options and doesn’t think anyone else can replicate Morelos' qualities.

"It's just as well Alfredo Morelos has strong shoulders. Because the weight of Rangers' title ambitions is resting upon them," he said in his Daily Mail column.

"His performance against Hearts proved he is irreplaceable. When Morelos was called up by Colombia, we asked who could fill the gap he left. Would it be Cedric Itten, Kemar Roofe or Fashion Sakala? The answer, bluntly, was none of them. Not in terms of an individual performance level nor what it meant for the team.

"There was more wrong with Rangers, much more than just the absence of a single player in that embarrassing first half against Celtic last Wednesday night. But with Morelos back in the line-up, we saw a complete transformation in attacking play.

"His movement was excellent, as were his goals. You could also see the huge uplift in the players around him.

"To me, that is always the benchmark of a great striker. Morelos dragged his team-mates onto a far better level. He was different class. Talismanic. Right now, you cannot imagine Rangers playing without him and being successful.

"If Morelos can keep that level of performance, then Giovanni van Bronckhorst has a chance of seeing his side at the top of the Premiership come the end of the season."

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He added: "Questions have been asked about Morelos' attitude at certain times in the past, but it has been spot-on ever since Van Bronckhorst took charge. I think the 25-year-old will absolutely embrace the responsibility placed on him because he relishes the appreciation that comes with it.

"That level of importance brings an obvious question about his contract position in terms of longer-term planning at the club, as Morelos will be into his last 12 months at the end of this season.”

With Morelos in tow, Laudrup reckons the title race will go “to the wire”. There is only one point which separates the sides going into the midweek fixture card.

Celtic are at Aberdeen, while Rangers host Hibs.

"What Ange Postecoglou has done has been remarkable, really. His team can be breathtaking at times, but they have also shown proper consistency since the winter break. That's a level Rangers have to try and reach.

"I think this title race will go to the wire. But Van Bronckhorst has to make sure a gap isn't allowed to grow before Celtic come to Ibrox on April 4.”

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