Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos has been prolific for the Light Blues since his arrival, but there’s just one little caveat…
Fallen foul of any clickbait topics on the Old Firm derby this week already? I’ve run into a few myself. Saw one earlier today, the stat that should worry Rangers fans they promised. Hook, line and sinker, it got me. I went in with little expectation but still found myself disappointed – the stat was one of the least worrying things I’ve seen and heard all year.
Apparently since 1986 the team that has lost the first Old Firm derby has only won the League 5 times, and 4 of those were Celtic. Wow, what a stat. What an irrelevant stat. Is there literally nothing else to write about and mainstream publications need to dig deep and peddle such an insane factoid as some sort of iron-clad rule?
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Nonetheless, there is one particular stat regarding the Old Firm that I find perhaps on the road to worrying – Alfredo Morelos hasn’t actually scored in one yet. This may seem equally irrelevant, indeed it would be if it had been only 5 outings or so, but it’s actually been 11 and counting. That’s 16 and a half hours of football, one third of an entire season, without netting once, from a striker.
It’s not like he hasn’t had chances to break the duck either. Fluffing that penalty in the Betfred Cup final last year, and a bunch of other sitters besides, has to stand amongst the most objectively worst centre-forward displays the Light Blues have had in a decade. It single-handedly lost us the Cup and was the catalyst for major calls from Bears to never play Morelos against Celtic again.
Of course, much of this came from banter, amplified by a Hoops-favoring media, that Alfredo wasn’t a big game player. A bottler, a choker, and a bottom feeder sure, but in the tough encounters he would go missing. I saw one news report actively painting Morelos as stat padding against the St Mirren’s of this world, but being objectively average on the whole. Shocking stuff.
Now, admittedly, the fact Alfredo genuinely hasn’t found the net against Celtic in his processional career, does little to help matters. At this point you have to legitimately wonder if all the talk of “being intimidated by the bigger stage” isn’t getting in his head and becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rangers fans might be wary of starting the Colombian, but Rangers manager Steven Gerrard doesn’t seem swayed in the slightest. Former Ibrox striker Gary McSwegan reckons Stevie G will have Morelos front and centre again, as quoted by the Daily Record;
"“I understand all of the arguments which say Morelos should start on the bench but I don’t go along with any of them.Gerrard will always play his strongest XI for games of this importance and Morelos will be one of the first names on the teamsheet.”"
Whether Alfredo starts or not remains to be seen, but you can’t argue with McSwegan’s logic here. Gerrard only benched Morelos due to poor attitude, but a few good training sessions and he’s straight back in the starting XI again. It’s about results, effort and desire.
12th time is hopefully the charm – it’s hard to deny that breaking the duck ideally would have happened in the Cup Final, but this year the stakes are just about as high as they’ve ever been. That useless statistic we mentioned may not worry many Rangers fans, as promised, but it does remind us that the title is the number one priority this season – and we won’t win it unless we beat Celtic. Let’s hope the floodgates open this Sunday for Morelos and the Gers, the articles that come after that will all be the kind of clickbait we won’t mind following at all.