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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard confirms Alfredo Morelos move will not be sanctioned in January

Hearts 0 Rangers 3

Alfredo Morelos sets off in celebration after scoring his second goal of the game
Alfredo Morelos sets off in celebration after scoring his second goal of the game

By Andy Newport

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has told Alfredo Morelos he is going nowhere in January.

The Colombia international again put himself in the shop window as he extended his haul for the season to 20 goals with a double in the Light Blues' 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final win over Hearts.

The 23-year-old said last week he might potentially be open to a move to a "much better and more competitive league" come the winter transfer window.

But Ibrox boss Gerrard insists that will not be happening.

Speaking after booking his first cup final appearance as a manager, Gerrard said: "I'm 100 per cent sure he is not going anywhere."

Morelos has fired six goals in his last five games and his boss wants to see that hot streak continue.

"I think as far as I'm concerned and Alfredo's concerned, we just need to work towards 21," he said. "I'm sure secretly he will have his own targets which I know all forwards do.

"He's in great form, he's smiling and he's happy and he's producing for his team. He's contributing heavily and that's the reason we are so happy to have him.

"We had great back-up today. You can see why we paid the money for Ryan Kent, why we were so desperate to get him in. He'll get better and better.

"Ryan Jack was like a man possessed again and defensively we were solid, so I'm very happy with how all departments of the team worked today."

Gers dominated the Jambos from start to finish at Hampden but had to wait until the stroke of half-time to take the lead through Filip Helander.

Morelos then doubled their tally 90 seconds into the second period before adding another after 63 minutes.

The victory now sets up an Old Firm showdown on December 8 as the big two meet in the final of a competition for the first time since 2011.

Gerrard will hope to break the Hoops' stranglehold on Scotland's domestic prizes when he walks out at the National Stadium next month. But he insisted the spotlight should not be on him.

He said: "I'm delighted to get through, I thought the performance was very strong. I don't think anyone can say we don't deserve to be in the final.

"The final will be quite an occasion. There will be plenty of time to speak about it and who it's against. But today is all about Rangers and us performing ever so well and the lads should enjoy it."

The game came three days after Hearts axed Craig Levein as boss and his former number two Austin MacPhee is set for talks today with owner Ann Budge to decide if he will continue as interim manager this week.

Northern Ireland assistant coach MacPhee said: "We'll obviously talk about the structure for the next week but I would imagine so (that I'll be in charge against St Mirren on Saturday)."

Hearts lost Glenn Whelan to injury midway through the first-half as well as Michael Smith just after Rangers grabbed their second.

That was after MacPhee was forced to replace striker Steven MacLean with Uche Ikpeazu just before half-time as he flirted with a second yellow card.

"It was disappointing," he said. "We knew everything had to go our way if we were to get a result but to lose Glenn so early - a very important player for us - and then we lost the goal just before half time.

"Rangers dominated first-half possession but we hoped we could get in and regroup and we planned to add Jamie Walker and Steven Naismith to the team later on as they're returning from injury, as well as having Uche strong at the end of the game, but I had to introduce him early.

"We lost a goal and also Michael Smith and it was a terrible time to lose a goal, as well as two key players lost through injury."

HEARTS: Pereira, Smith (Naismith, 53 mins), White, Berra, Bozanic, Clare, Whelan (Irving, 78 mins), Wighton, Hickey, Meshino, MacLean (Ikpeazu , 40 mins). Unused subs: Doyle, Walker, Brandon, Keena.

RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Davis, Jack (Arfield, 77 mins), Kamara, Ojo (Defoe, 82 mins), Morelos, Kent. Unused subs: Foderingham, Flanagan, Katic, Barker.

Referee: John Beaton

Man of the Match: Alfredo Morelos

Match Rating: 7/10

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