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MORELOS’ NO-SHOW EXPLAINED

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STEVEN GERRARD explained the mystery of Alfredo Morelos’ no-show in the devastating 1-0 Scottish Cup exit against Hearts at Tynecastle last night.

The Rangers boss was left without a frontline leader with the controversial Colombian left out of his match squad while Jermain Defoe was fit only for a late substitute appearance and Florian Kamberi Cup-tied with Hibs.

Morelos was a shock omission from the line-up and Gerrard revealed he had been axed for disciplinary reasons.

The dejected Govan gaffer, speaking to the Sky Sports, said: “Alfredo came to me 10 days ago or so and he said his mum wasn’t feeling right, so he asked for permission to go back to Colombia, which I granted and said: ‘At the right time you can go home and sort your family problems out’.

“He left on Sunday after the game against St Johnstone because he was suspended [for the Europa League victory in Braga].

“I looked him in the eye and said: ‘You’ve got to be back on Wednesday’ and he said: ‘Okay, I really appreciate that’.

“He returned 24 hours late and he missed one of the key preparation days into this game, so I decided to go with people who had done the full preparation, who were desperate to be available.

“This is a kid who I’ve loved and I still do love him. He’s a top player who has scored a great volume of goals for us. But I think we all know, from time to time, what he does and what he’s about.

“I couldn’t forget players that are working ever so hard and were desperate for an opportunity today over people who have got discipline like that, I can’t do it.

“I wouldn’t be true to myself.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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