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Gers face striker headache for Old Firm: McAllister


In frame: Alfredo Morelos has served his four-match ban
In frame: Alfredo Morelos has served his four-match ban

By Robert Jones

Gary McAllister admits he and Steven Gerrard have a dilemma over who plays up front against Celtic on Sunday.

Alfredo Morelos had to make do with a 74th-minute introduction as he returned from a four-match ban in Sunday's 1-0 win over Hibernian.

Jermain Defoe had kept him out of the starting line-up after scoring twice during his suspension, and the 36-year-old hit the winner against Hibs.

Morelos has scored 29 goals this season but has not netted in eight appearances against Celtic, the last of which saw him sent off for elbowing Scott Brown.

The Gers' top goalscorer came close on several occasions against Hibs and looked lively.

McAllister said: "He should be, he's had quite a bit of time off, which is unfortunate. But the facts are we have someone who has come in and done fantastically well.

"So we have two proven strikers, two strikers who are at different times of their career. One can learn from another, most definitely. But we need competition for places and we have two top No.9s.

"It's a nice dilemma, it's a nice problem. You need that sort of competition through the team."

McAllister admits 22-year-old Morelos has not been able to hide his frustration at being sidelined following his fifth red card of the season.

"He has worked hard but he has been frustrated," he said.

"He is very rarely injured, touch wood, he is very robust, so when he is on the sidelines he is frustrated that he's not on the pitch."

The former Scotland midfielder feels Morelos will benefit from watching Defoe in action.

McAllister added: "I think Jermain is key for all forward-thinking players at the club, just the way he navigates from Monday through to Friday.

"He's a top pro and a perfectionist, and that's why he's playing at the age he is, playing at the level he is playing at."

Morelos received an award after his comeback on Sunday when he collected the PFA Scotland Goal of the Season prize for his measured finish in a 4-2 win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

McAllister said: "For me it was a world-class goal. I loved the way he manoeuvred his body and just passed it in, rather than a lot of goals he scores when he goes for power."

Meanwhile, Kevin Clancy will take charge of the final Old Firm game of the season.

The whistler will oversee the match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday.

It will be Clancy's first ever Old Firm derby as the leading match official.

He will be assisted by Graeme Stewart and Douglas Ross, while Craig Thomson is the referee.

Clancy has taken charge of six Rangers and four Celtic matches this season. He was the man in the middle for Brendan Rodgers' last game in charge, a 4-1 win over Motherwell.

Belfast Telegraph


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