FRUSTRATED Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has fired a warning to Alfredo Morelos after the Colombian hothead saw red for the FOURTH time this season in the stormy 4-2 win at Aberdeen last night.
Amazingly, the controversial frontman has now been dismissed on three occasions against Derek McInnes’ side although the first – in the opening-day Premiership 1-1 draw at Pittodrie – was later reduced to a yellow card.
Morelos, who scored two excellent goals, was banished along with Dons central defender Scott McKenna after an ugly bust-up on the bye-line in the second-half.
His double took his strike tally to 23 in this campaign and kept the Ibrox men six points behind Celtic, who beat Hibs 2-0 at Parkhead with goals from Ryan Christie and Oliver Burke.
But Gerrard said: “I think for Alfredo to go to the next level or to improve he will have to channel his aggression.
CONCERNED…Steven Gerrard has seen Alfredo Morelos sent off four times this season.
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t had the chance to analyse the incident back, so I can’t tell you if Scott deserved a red or whether Alfredo did.
“But they’ve had a fantastic battle up until that point. Scott was physical with Alfredo, Alfredo was physical with them.
“Two top players, but, unfortunately, they have both ended up with red cards. Whether they deserved it I’ll have to analyse it. If Alfredo is in the wrong, then he’ll deserve the red card.
“He’ll then be missing for two games and that’s how he’ll get punished because he hates missing games. But I’m doing everything in my power to help the kid grow as a footballer and as a person.
“I’m not going to take the physical side away from him because he’ll get bullied out there against some strong physical players.”
Gerrard, who will now prepare his team for the Scottish Cup-tie against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday evening, added: “It was a fantastic football match.
CONGRATULATIONS…Alfredo Morelos celebrates following James Tavernier’s penalty-kick conversion. Pics: Geo.
“A lot happened. Fantastic goals, penalties, red cards. A lot to talk about, but obviously delighted with the win.
“It’s been a long time coming against Aberdeen, but I thought we thoroughly deserved our win. We stood up to them, we matched them and did the basics very well and we took our goals well.”
Morelos gave the Gers the lead, but that was nullified by a strike from Sam Cosgrove. The Colombian netted a superb second before they were awarded a penalty-kick to follow the four spot-kicks they received in the 4-0 win over St Mirren at the weekend.
James Tavernier thumped his effort beyond Joe Lewis, but the Dons were given their own spot-kick two minutes after the interval which was tucked away by Cosgrove for his second.
However, substitute Jermain Defoe had the final say when he claimed the fourth in the fading moments.