Rangers boss Steven Gerrard hopes Alfredo Morelos’ first counter of 2020 will provide his goal spark for the rest of the season.
The Colombian striker scored for the first time in five games in the 4-1 William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round win at Hamilton to take his tally for the season to 29.
Morelos had won the first-half penalty from which midfielder Scott Arfield had given the visitors the lead – netting after Accies keeper Luke Southwood had parried his spot-kick – before Hamilton’s 19-year-old midfielder Lewis Smith levelled with a drive.
After midfielder Joe Aribo struck in the 68th minute, Morelos headed in a third with five minutes remaining before Arfield hammered in a fourth in added time.
“I think he looked sharp today,” said Gerrard, who revealed left-back Borna Barisic is a doubt for Wednesday night’s Ladbrokes Premiership game against Kilmarnock with a hip flexor problem.
“He will be disappointed that he never scored in the first half, I thought that was a real good chance for someone like Alfredo.
“He is probably slightly disappointed that he hasn’t scored a double today but there was still part of his play which was typical Alfredo, where he was undefendable.
“He was strong, powerful and he ran through the defender for the penalty, which was obviously the breakthrough we were looking for, and again he was in the right place at the right time and he still had to do a little bit with the header.
“Hopefully that goal will spring him on to more now because we need him firing as quick as possible. All forwards, especially number nines, thrive on goals and get confidence and belief from goals.”
Barisic was replaced by Andy Halliday in the second half and Gerrard said: “He is a doubt. We don’t think it’s a big problem, but it is a concern.”
Gerrard admits he is still looking for a penalty taker after Arfield’s attempt was beaten out by Southwood.
He said: “We are still searching for this person to come forward and become our penalty taker, but on the evidence so far I might have to go back to James (Tavernier).
“I will make that decision in due course.”
Hamilton assistant manager Guillaume Beuzelin was left ruing the fact that when Blair Alston took over from Mickel Miller – himself a replacement – at the start of the second half, all three substitutions were used.
Andy Dales and Steven Davies had to go off in the first half with injuries, with Miller and Marios Ogkmpoe coming on.
Beuzelin said: “It was a difficult situation to deal with, three injuries almost at the same time.
“In the second half when we chased the game, it is very tiring for players and usually you make your substitutions around the 60th minute to 75th minute. But we couldn’t do that and conceded three goals in this time.
“The effort was there but we need to learn from our mistakes. We need to deal with crosses better than that.”
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