Alfredo Morelos to miss Celtic Park derby after international call-up

By David Walton

January 19, 2022

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos looks set to miss out on the Glasgow derby clash at Celtic Park after being called up by Colombia.

The news is a massive blow to our rivals just 2 weeks from our crucial Parkhead date. It comes with World Cup qualifiers set to take place at the end of the month.

Colombia are due to face Peru and Argentina, with the latter game taking place just 1 day before the Glasgow derby. The news was today confirmed by the Colombian FA on their official Twitter page:

Celtic could have some big players out of their own for the derby clash. Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, and Reo Hatate all look like prime candidates for Japan call-ups. Tom Rogic, meanwhile, looks a cert to head off with Australia.

However, Morelos being out is a blow that the Ibrox club will struggle to recover from. Fashion Sakala or Cedric Itten will likely have to play up top instead – not selections that will give the Celtic defence much fear.

Morelos only broke his Glasgow derby goal duck last season after going 15 games without finding the net. His horrendous record now sits at 2 goals in 18.

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No Alfredo Morelos for Rangers at Celtic Park

We certainly don’t want to make it sound as if the Celtic defence would’ve been fearing Morelos starting. We would still strongly have fancied Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers to deal with him comfortably enough.

However, there is no denying that Rangers missing their top striker takes a lot away from their game. In the recent successes they have had against us over the years, Morelos has often been central to their build-up play.

Without him, Rangers continue to be a totally different side. They can’t be as direct as they would like to as the ball won’t stick as well without Morelos there. That’s something Giovanni van Bronckhorst is going to have to solve, but he certainly shouldn’t fancy his chances.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Granted, Starfelt, in particular, played Morelos extremely well in the August derby. You wouldn’t have known he was playing, and that said a lot about how well-marshalled the Swede kept him.

Regardless, it’s a hammer blow to Rangers’ derby plans. They won’t have been expecting Morelos to have been called up this afternoon. He hasn’t appeared for Colombia in any of their World Cup qualification matches so far.

They’ll be absolutely furious with this.

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