Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos has sustained an injury at a ‘terrible time’, Noel Whelan has told Football Insider.
According to Sky Sports, Morelos is now a doubt for Sunday’s Old Firm derby against title rivals Celtic.
This comes after he sustained a thigh injury whilst on international duty with Colombia.
He’s subsequently returned to Glasgow in order to ‘focus on his recovery’ ahead of the clash with the Hoops, currently three points ahead of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Hot on the heels of the derby comes the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinal against Braga.
Morelos has scored in both knockout ties so far against Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade and also has six direct goal contributions in his last seven league appearances.
Will Rangers beat Celtic if Morelos is out?
Whelan, a former SPFL striker and now ambassador for English Premier League side Leeds United, thinks it will be panic stations at Ibrox after hearing of the problem.
Losing the in-form Morelos, he says, could have huge ramifications not only for this season, but for the next.
“Alarm bells will be ringing for Rangers, that’s for sure,” he said.
“It’s come at a terrible time for Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Morelos has been back to his best since he’s come in, he’s been that number nine with real scoring ability.
“Now, he’s injured before the two biggest games of their season. These are the two games vital to qualifying for the Champions League and retaining that title.
“They’re going so well in both competitions, and to lose a player of his stature could be a catastrophe.”
How have Rangers coped without Morelos so far this season?
Well, he missed three leagues games in January after an international call-up, and the Light Blues proceeded to drop five points.
And one of those matches happened to be the Old Firm clash at Parkhead, which Celtic won 3-0.
Their struggles perhaps weren’t a surprise given that Morelos is the team’s top scorer with 16 and also ranks joint-second for assists with seven (via BBC Sport).
There are other sources of goals in the squad, though, with Kemar Roofe contributing 11, James Tavernier netting ten and Joe Aribo coming up with seven from midfield.
It will be those players called upon to step up and produce the magic if Morelos is unsuccessful in his ‘race’ to be fit for the weekend.
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