Steven Gerrard : I can't defend Alfredo Morelos any more

Author: BBC Sport
Alfredo Morelos being flashed the red card

Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard says he can't defend his striker  Alfredo Morelos any more after the Rangers striker was sent off for the fifth time this season during their 2-1 Old Firm defeat by Celtic.

Morelos reacted to an off-the-ball flick by Scott Brown, elbowing the Celtic captain in the face.

The Colombian has also been red-carded for lashing out at Aberdeen's Scott McKenna and Graeme Shinnie this term.

"He'll be punished internally and we'll move forward," Gerrard told Rangers TV.

"The reality is if you raise your arm, you leave yourself wide open. Obviously he's been provoked in the first place but it's happened on too many occasions now.

"I've gone above and beyond - I've backed Alfredo more than enough and I can't defend him any more."

Morelos' first red of the season, for kicking out at Scott McKenna after the Aberdeen defender had barged him, was rescinded.

However, the striker has been sent off twice more against Aberdeen this term, once for throwing an arm at Shinnie, and again for another kick on McKenna, who was also ordered off for his part in the incident.

Morelos was dismissed too in Rangers' Europa League draw with FC Ufa after receiving a second yellow card for dissent, having already been cautioned for kicking the ball away.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon denied that Brown's flicking of his opponent's leg was a pre-planned attempt to rouse the Colombian's temper.

"It wasn't premeditated," Lennon said. "You'd need to ask Alfredo Morelos why he keeps doing it because he's a great player but he's obviously got major discipline problems."