ALFREDO MORELOS has been told to be wary of Celtic wind-ups as Rangers prepare for this afternoon’s Betfred League Cup Final .
Boss Steven Gerrard has warned the controversial Colombian striker that he will be “provoked” by the opposition at Hampden.
Morelos has struck 25 goals in this campaign, but is still without a solitary strike in TEN games against the Hoops and his Ibrox gaffer is convinced he will be targeted by the holders.
Gerrard, speaking to the Scottish Sun on Sunday, insisted: “We all know Alf will be provoked at certain times. But there are definitely signs he’s improving that side of his game, which is great to see.
“He’s shown it all season, certainly in a European situation because we know you won’t get away with things in Europe you might get away with in the SPFL.
“We’ve also played against Aberdeen twice and there were no problems, we played an Old Firm game at home and there were no problems.
“Alfredo’s a player who has the X-factor and, being his manager, I know all his fans and even the media want to see him play football, not sitting in an early bath.
“Everyone wants to see him on the pitch because everyone loves to see him play football.”
Gerrard acknowledged the improvement in the fiery hitman’s discipline this time around after FIVE red cards last season – one following an off-the-ball incident at Parkhead with Celtic skipper Scott Brown in March when the home side won 2-1.
He added: “The proof’s there to see, isn’t it? Last season he was getting dismissed too many times, he was letting the team down.
“There’s a fine line between channelling your aggression in the right way and letting it spill over, playing with too much emotion and making mistakes.
“That’s what was happening last year, but this time his behaviour’s been a lot different.
“That’s credit to Alfredo. He needs to keep focusing on the football and if he does I’m sure he’ll continue to improve his record from last season.
“That’s all we ask of him, play on the edge and be who you are.
“We don’t want to take anything away from him because that’s what Alfredo is. He’s an aggressive player, he’s a forward runner, he does like to play on the edge.
“We don’t want to take any of that away, but it needs to be channelled in the right way because letting your team-mates down on a stage like this isn’t helpful at all.
”The reality is Alfredo hasn’t delivered in this one fixture. Here is the chance to put it right.
“He’s in great form and I’m sure he’s very excited about that opportunity.
“All Alfredo needs to do is make sure he’s a winner at the weekend. If we win without him scoring, that’s fine. He’ll still get the same amount of praise from me.
“He’ll be doing everything he can to get a goal against Celtic — it’s certainly not through lack of trying.
“But he relies on service. If that service is there, I wouldn’t back against him turning things round.”
Morelos didn’t start the first Glasgow derby of the season on September 1 when Gerrard gave the nod to veteran former England international Jermain Defoe.
However, with the team trailing 1-0 to a first-half effort from Odsonne Edouard, he threw on the bustling frontman in the second period.
Again, though, he was out of luck and the Hoops made certain of victory when Jonny Hayes scored in stoppage-time.