By Nick Ware

26th Aug, 2021 | 4:43pm

Neil McCann critical of Alfredo Morelos in Rangers v Alashkert

Neil McCann was critical of Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos during the first half of their Europa League clash against Alashkert on Thursday evening.

Rangers made the trip to Armenia without a number of first-team stars due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the squad, but 25-year-old Morelos was fit to take his place in the starting XI after scoring the only goal in the reverse leg last week.

However, he started slowly on Thursday and came under fire from McCann on BBC Sportscene’s live coverage of the clash.

He said: “I would just like to have seen Alfredo Morelos occupying the two centre backs higher up, there’s no need for him to come deep.

“He’s going to need to be an out ball for Rangers because I believe they’ve got good legs in [Joe] Aribo, [Ianis] Hagi and [Nathan] Patterson on the outside, that can get beyond this side but they really need a spearhead.

“That’s where they really got a lot of joy in the first leg when they got someone close to Morelos in central positions.”

After the Colombian missed a one-on-one effort later in the first half, McCann said: “He should have two. There never, ever seems any real conviction in his run, he’s almost meandering forward.

“Just take it round him.

“He hit the goalkeeper there and it’s such a poor finish.”

Failing to fire

Morelos really could have scored a couple of goals in the first half to put the tie beyond Alashkert.

There were two opportunities where he only had the goalkeeper to beat, but he failed to score on both occasions.

On the first one, he shot over the bar, though he appeared to be slightly off balance.

If he could be forgiven for that, there was less room for manoeuvre with the second effort.

Morelos at least hit the target this time around, but he was through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat and hesitated before trying to poke the ball through the legs of the opposition goalkeeper who thwarted his effort.

In other Rangers news, the Hibernian owner has reacted after being asked if the club can challenge the Gers for the SPFL title.