What is it, Alfie?
All eyes were on Alfredo Morelos when his number came up and he was one of three Rangers players substituted after 73 minutes. It was obvious he wasn’t going to be happy. He trudged on to be replaced by Kemar Roofe, whose return to full fitness cannot come quickly enough for Rangers fans.
This is especially true given the current funk plaguing Morelos. There was no handshake with manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst when he left. And although he didn’t storm the tunnel, which seemed possible, he started off in a chair in the house dugout. To be fair to him, it seemed more out of disgust at his own performance than annoyance at someone else.
Morelos was just one of many home players who failed to hit the big time against Dundee. But his situation will always arouse the most interest.
He walked away after 74 minutes after failing to add to his two goals for the season. Van Bronckhorst had clearly played him in hopes he could find his touch against the Championship side. However, apart from a chance that was blocked by goalkeeper Adam Legzdins, the Colombian looked exactly like he is now: a bit overweight footballer suffering from too little action in big games.
The problem is that he is now short of a road at Rangers. And maybe he also lacks goodwill. Few fans might wonder if he is left out of the starting XI on Saturday against Livingston. He is free to speak to other clubs in January. There has been talk of a new contract at Ibrox, but nothing that has happened over the past few weeks suggests that these are talks anyone is desperate for. It may be best for both parties to move on.
Josh Mulligan excels on the big stage – what next?
Dundee manager Gary Bowyer has revealed he substituted Josh Mulligan after 67 minutes because the tenacious teenager was one foul away from being a card. But the 19-year-old – he turns 20 next month – had already done enough to grab attention with a positive and stunning performance that will put further pressure on the Dens Park hierarchy to extend his contract as quickly as possible. .
As it stands, the Scotland Under-21 international attacking midfielder can speak to other interested clubs as early as January. He could have scored well at Ibrox. He missed a header in the opening moments and went close with a shot late in the first half.
“He kind of brought it to them,” Bowyer said afterwards. “He has two chances in the first half, but he was also competitive. I had to pull him because I think he was one foul away from being kicked out. We didn’t need that.
Mulligan will be central to Dundee’s hopes of going straight up. But whether he stays longer is in the hands of the Dundee board. They can ill afford another situation at Glen Kamara, when the highly rated midfielder signed for Rangers for a very modest sum after his contract was allowed to run out. Mulligan really looks a bit special. It would be criminal for the Dens Park club to lose him at this stage of their development.
Record loss? Let’s move on, shall we…
It was a case of ‘don’t mention Liverpool score’ in the still very readable Ibrox match program for the game against Dundee. Posting delays may be to blame, although the results page records it.
No one expected a tribute to the historic result – the heaviest record loss in Rangers history. But neither Giovanni van Bronckhorst nor Captain James Tavernier talked about it in their columns. The two seemed more keen to mention in detail the victory over Queen of the South in the previous round, which dates back to August.