Celtic must handle Rangers' Alfredo Morelos more efficiently on Sunday

By David Walton

December 23, 2019

Alfredo Morelos’ performance against Celtic at Hampden was absolutely hilarious when you watch it back.

If anything summed up the Columbian hothead’s career displays against us, it was that one game. All kinds of chances came his way, and he just couldn’t break down our big yellow wall of Fraser Forster.

If it hadn’t been for the amount of nail-biting we were all doing, we may even have managed to enjoy it a bit more at the time. However, in the end, we won the Betfred Cup to make it 10 trophies in-a-row.

Alfredo Morelos did everything but score at Hampden at the start of the month (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But let’s not kid ourselves. If we’re all being totally 100% honest about Hampden – Morelos got into far too many promising positions. Even though he had his clown shoes on once again, you still can’t fancy giving him those same opportunities at Parkhead.

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The main problem our defence had was the fact that Morelos’ off-ball movement was hardly being tracked. Both Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer often failed to spot him due to the fact they were keeping an eye on Rangers’ build-up play.

Too many chances

On several occasions, Morelos too easily peeled off our defence to catch a sight of Forster’s goal. Higher levels of concentration are a must at Parkhead on Sunday.

Christopher Jullien will want to keep Morelos quiet on Sunday (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Ajer in particular has shown in the past that he’s more than capable of dealing with the Rangers forward. In fact, even at Hampden he did well whilst on the ball to keep Morelos away from nabbing it. Much of Morelos’ joy against defences comes from his high pressing. Ajer and Jullien have the composure to ensure that doesn’t reap any rewards.

Another notable issue was Ajer’s occasional diving in on the forward. He got sucked in on occasion by Morelos, and it led to the striker getting space he shouldn’t have had. Whether it was down to the tension of the game or anything else, the defence has to keep him in check more successfully this week.

Morelos often seemed to target Ajer over Jullien at Hampden. You can argue whether that’s wise or not. When both are on their game, Morelos won’t get a kick. We’ve seen that in the past.

Kristoffer Ajer has a history of snuffing Morelos out (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Lapses in concentration and a lack of awareness regarding Morelos’ movement ultimately cost us the chances we conceded at Hampden. You can bet Neil Lennon will be drumming into his centre-backs the importance of snuffing him out of the game this time around.

One day Morelos will turn up with a pair of shooting boots against us if we get too careless. So long as Ajer and Jullien keep the head on Sunday, however, we should be fine.