Gary McAllister: Rangers will help Alfredo Morelos not drop him

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos in training. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos in training. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
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The on-field antics of Alfredo Morelos can sometimes suggest the Colombian offers up a twist on an old adage. The 22-year-old Rangers striker is certainly in – he is all – but it often seems the lights aren’t on. Rangers assistant Gary McAllister acknowledged 
yesterday that Morelos has to find a way to hit the switch.

The forward’s mindless flaying arm to the face of Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie on Wednesday night that earned him a second yellow card, and therefore yet another red card, highlighted a disciplinary “issue” that McAllister acknowledges Rangers are trying to “put right”.

The Ibrox club, under pressure at Dundee tomorrow to bounce back from the midweek loss against Aberdeen that cost them top spot in the table, have had eight players sent off this season – with one of three dismissals that have come the way of Morelos later rescinded on appeal.

McAllister acknowledges that the Colombian has been the main threat for Rangers this season with 16 goals, while his temperament has been the main threat to his remaining on the pitch.

The striker will miss the next two league games, against Dundee and Hamilton Accies, but the Ibrox assistant concedes he has to stop missing the point about how you conduct yourself if on a caution.

However, Steven Gerrard’s No 2 does not follow the view expressed by pundit Michael Stewart this week that if the penny doesn’t drop with the player – who has as many cards as goals this season with 13 yellows and three reds – then Rangers should drop Morelos from their ranks.

“We have got a young player that is very competitive, he is a goal threat, our main goal threat. It is that acceptance that when he does get a yellow card that he has got to change, his whole dynamic has got to change, because he runs the risk of a second yellow,” said the former Scotland midfielder.

“That little switch has to click and we will continue to feed him because we like him, we care for him and we think he is a massive talent. He has got the respect of the dressing-room but he has got to stay on the pitch.

“[In terms of saying the penny has to drop] he is young enough and we are experienced enough, there are enough experienced people on the management team, to help him to get it right.

“The facts are that he is paying the biggest price because he loves scoring goals and when you get red cards you miss games. That is the biggest penalty that any striker can receive because he is not on the pitch and able to do what he does best.

“Mentally there is a switch. I have played with some massively competitive guys with determination and a will to win, but in behind there has got to be some moments of calm. It is getting that process done. That comes with 
experience.”

Morelos is a loose cannon that is now finding opponents doing all they can to spark his fuse but McAllister doesn’t seek to use this as any sort of excuse for the striker consistently falling foul of officialdom

“Obviously I played alongside Vinnie Jones for a short period of time [at Leeds] and everybody [wanted to have a go at him],” McAllister said.

“There are players that other
players will try to provoke and that is part of the game, it is a compliment. People are going to compete against Alfredo and he has got to accept that. He has got to be competitive and then, at the right moments, walk away.”

The Jones comparison might not exactly engender optimism that Morelos will become switched on to the dangers of seeing red. McAllister said Jones only succeeded in doing that at “times” and “didn’t” on other occasions. Asked if the penny ever really dropped for the Englishman, the Rangers No 2 offered candidly: “Maybe not. He left Leeds.”