Rangers star Morelos in race against time to face Hamilton after delayed return from Colombia


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RANGERS star Alfredo Morelos won’t land back in Glasgow until Saturday lunchtime after being caught up in angry protests against the Colombian government.

Flights to and from his South American homeland were grounded on Thursday after air traffic controllers joined a national strike.

It means the Light Blues hitman is now in a frantic race against time to be available for Gers’ game with Hamilton at 12.15 on Sunday.

Yet Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard is in no doubt Morelos will be determined to feature — joking he’ll have spent the 14-hour flight home kicking a ball around at 36,000ft.

He said: “Alf will be desperate to play, there is no doubt about that.

“If he went straight to Hamilton from the airport, he would be desperate to play because that’s the kind of character he is.

“In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Alfredo is kicking a ball around the aeroplane right now.

“My job is to decide whether he should play, about finding that balance. I’ll pick a team that I think is capable of going to Hamilton and winning.

“You are always trying to stay ahead of the game because we have so many important matches coming up.

“I am looking at the bigger picture, but all the players need to do is focus on Hamilton.”

Morelos grabbed his first goal for Colombia in a 1-0 win over Peru last Saturday before being given 45 minutes against Ecuador in midweek.

And Gerrard insisted: “That was the plan, to start him in the first game and then have 45 in the second.

“I don’t have communication with national managers in the sense of me asking, ‘Can you play my players here and there?’.

“Once he travels over, like any of my international players, he becomes the responsibility of that national team.

“It’s up to them when they want to use our players. We’re just proud to have so many playing for their respective countries right now.”

For the first time since taking charge at Ibrox, Gerrard has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Filip Helander, Scott Arfield, Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara have all returned in one piece from international duty, while Jordan Jones is back training for the first time in 11 weeks.

And with Jermain Defoe in such a rich vein of scoring form, Gerrard knows he has plenty of options if Morelos fails to shake off jet lag.

The Gers gaffer said: “I can’t remember the last time we had everyone fit and available. I don’t believe we’ve ever had one.

“Even in pre-season players can drop out with blisters because you are trying to push them.

“It’s nice to have a clean bill of health because we are heading into a crucial block of games.

“You and I both know, however, given the level of physicality and the tempo we try to play at, that injuries will occur.

“But it’s a fantastic time to be here because of the matches that are coming up.

“The players have earned the right because of their performances in reaching the League Cup final and in the Europa League.

“We are still in with a chance of qualifying from the group and that’s the reason every game is so important. We all signed up for this and that’s why we are here.”

With a League Cup final, two massive Europa League matches and a trip to Parkhead all looming before the winter break, Gerrard is set to cancel Christmas at Ibrox.

Traditional festive team-bonding sessions are in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

Gerrard insists the game has changed since the days when Ally McCoist and the rest of the Nine-in-a-Row heroes tore it up on their Christmas nights out.

He smiled: “He won’t mind me saying the game has changed. I say that to myself, by the way. So I’m not trying to paint myself as an angel.

“The game has changed and moved on — it’s now two glasses of wine rather than the 20 we were once used to.

“We will find the right time for the lads to relax and enjoy themselves. I’m a manager who is very fair in terms of giving them time off and family time.

“In terms of celebration, as a footballer you have to make sacrifices. I’m certainly a person who likes to work hard and play hard, no problem at all.

“I like a glass of wine at the right time myself, but I’ll sacrifice it at the right time and we have a winter break coming up.

“The non-internationals have just had a week off recently, but I’ll give the internationalists an extra bit of family time too.

“We’ve been very fair across the board, so the players will have to sacrifice and really be focused and professional throughout this run of fixtures.

“Hopefully, in the long term, we will reap the rewards of that. But at the right time, the players will also get a chance to let their hair down.”


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heard it was celtic fans protesting against the cruel treatment of an indigenous group that have never existed.

they will be holding candle lit vigil at celtic park this weekend

The Golden God

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Away to Hamilton is the ideal game for him to be rested imo.

Defoe has had a nice wee break and will be ready to go, Morelos angry and ready to go on Thursday.


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Still have to pinch myself to make sure what we are concerned about is whether Jermain Defoe is ok as an option to face Hamilton. Ok it's not peak Defoe but FFS not so long ago our first choice was John Daly

Danger Zone

Just the tip...
Alfie should be rested for Hamilton, no question. Play Defoe and Stewart. I wouldn’t even have Morelos on the bench, give him a break.

This will probably annoy him and have him raring to go v Feyenoord :))
Nah sack that. He absolutely has to be on the bench in case things go wrong. Absolutely no sense in taking chances, plus being realistically he’s played a game and a half for Colombia, but he’s not travelling back on a cramped Ryanair flight. He and his mates will have nice comfy flights heading back to their respective homes.
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Nah sack that. He absolutely has to be on the bench in case things go wrong. Absolutely no sense in taking chances, plus being realistically he’s played a game and a half for Colombo, but he’s not travelling back on a cramped Ryanair flight. He and his mates will have nice comfy flights heading back to their respective homes.
Traitorous Sri Lankan bastard.


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If the game was in New York then it would be the most stupid travel decision ever made to then fly to further away to Colombia only to then have to fly back over the US to get back to the UK ???


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I'm totally guessing he took the oporchancity to see his ain folk in Columbia? If not then that report is a bag o shite.
I doubt if the club would allow him to travel so far to spend one day with his family, but then again SG is always going on about the importance of players having ‘family time”.

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