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Gerrard defends 'marked man' Morelos over Celtic clashes

Steven Gerrard reckons his Colombian striker gets kicked 'from pillar to post'.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard believes Alfredo Morelos gets involved in regular confrontations on the pitch because the Colombian striker is a "marked man".

Morelos was involved in a series of flash-points during the Old Firm derby at Ibrox as he clashed with Scott Brown, Anthony Ralston and Ryan Christie at different points of Rangers' 1-0 win.

In a statement, Celtic expressed their surprise that the Light Blues' top scorer escaped retrospective punishment from the Scottish FA.

Speaking from Rangers' winter training camp in Tenerife, Gerrard hit back, with the Ibrox manager insisting referee John Beaton also missed harsh treatment from Celtic players on his star striker and winger Daniel Candeias.

He said: "I'm not really that interested, that is Celtic's business.

"But what I would like to say is a lot of things go unmissed or unnoticed on Alfredo Morelos.

"He gets kicked from pillar-to-post.

"There were things that were missed during the Old Firm on our behalf, especially on Daniel Candeias.

"He was lucky not to come away with a serious injury.

"But we have moved on from the Old Firm."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1434397-sun-signings-and-stevie-g-rangers-recharge-in-tenerife/ | default

Gerrard confirmed Morelos is to join up with the Rangers squad in Spain 24 hours late as a "reward" for his form in the first half of the season.

Asked if his star striker is a "marked man", Gerrard added: "He is a marked man because players don't like playing against him and players target him.

"He has to put up with an awful lot, the kid is young, he is trying to learn and grow.

"He is trying to protect himself and is only doing what any young striker would do.

"There is no doubt he is targeted because he is a super talent but he should see it as a compliment because I do."

Referee Beaton was forced to call in police last week after receiving a torrent of online abuse following the derby.

Gerrard backed the under-fire official, stating all those involved in football have a duty of care to support refs.

He said: "I think it is very unfair on the referee.

"I don't like to see referees get any kind of threats, these are human beings who do an excellent job.

"Refs all over the world miss things, sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't.

"I think we have a duty of care to respect the refs and so do the supporters so that wasn't very nice to see."

Gerrard delight at Rangers' signing spree

Move: Jermain Defoe has joined Rangers.
Move: Jermain Defoe has joined Rangers. PA

Gerrard has moved quickly to bolster his squad at the offset of the January transfer window.

Bournemouth attacker Jermain Defoe and Southampton midfielder Steven Davis have completed loan moves to Ibrox, while Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones and Dundee's Glen Kamara have penned pre-contract deals with the Light Blues.

Gerrard hopes Defoe and Davis' wealth of experience in the English top-flight can help his team continue to improve in the second half of the season.

He added: "Very happy, obviously we are bringing four quality players in.

"They are at different stages of their careers, Steven and Jermain are a lot more experienced and have been round the block a bit more.

"Having analysed the squad I felt we needed that help, players with know-how, players who can handle our demanding crowd, players who have played in big games and are also ready for the stage of the season we are at.

"We are in a good position and have big games coming up so I felt experience was the key."

"Glen Kamara and Jordan Jones are at the other end of the scale, young players with huge potential.

"Not only have I got a job to present results now but to produce results in the future so I am really happy with them.

Despite long-awaited victory in the derby moving Rangers level on points with Celtic at the top of the Premiership, Gerrard is playing down his sides chances of a title tilt.

The former Liverpool coach added: "It's too early to be talking about getting involved in title races.

"The important thing is to worry about on Kilmarnock and getting three important points.

"It's important we dampen expectations, get a bit of reality back.

"If we start thinking too far ahead we could come unstuck."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1434327-rangers-complete-deals-for-jordan-jones-and-glen-kamara/ | default

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