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Rangers should have re-signed Kyle Lafferty last summer

Former Ibrox hero Kyle Lafferty was clearly open to a Glasgow return with Rangers.

Mathew Nash

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Last Spring saw Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty start discussing his next career move. His time at Norwich City was up and a free transfer loomed. One option that continued to be raised was the possibility to return to Rangers.

The striker had spent four years at the club, scoring 38 goals in 138 games for a club he somewhat supported as a boy.

But, amid the financial turmoil of 2012, he was one of the Rangers players to leave – joining Swiss side FC Sion.

But he maintained a love for Rangers and, last April, told the Daily Record:

“The longer you stay at a club like Rangers the better you adapt and although it didn’t end the way I would have liked, I still have a lot of great memories and I would like to go back and play for Rangers again one day.”

It was a rumour that then rumbled on throughout the summer. This was, indirectly at least, a come-and-get-me plea. But for whatever reason Lafferty was not targeted by Rangers. Perhaps manager Pedro Caixinha did not want him or it could have been a decision from elsewhere in the club. However, Rangers did not attempt to lure Lafferty back to Ibrox.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

So instead of Glasgow, the forward headed to Edinburgh. Judging by his form this season, Rangers will wish they had tried a reunion.

Lafferty had a great season at Tynecastle. He scored 19 goals in 41 appearances for the club including one against Old Firm foes Celtic in a 4-0 thrashing.

Rangers fans loved that moment but realising they could have easily signed a striker who outscored both Alfredo Morelos and Josh Windass will be a bitter pill to swallow.

Rangers never missed out on this Ibrox transfer, they simply never made the move. It was a mistake not to do so – whoever was at fault.

Lafferty would have added goals, swagger and joy to a fairly disjointed Rangers side. As it is, Hearts get to enjoy him for at least one more season.   

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Match Reaction

Three things learnt from Rangers’ win over Kilmarnock: Morelos can’t be sold

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Photo: Getty Images.

Rangers have progressed to the next round of the Betfred Cup after seeing off Kilmarnock thanks to an inspired display by Alfredo Morelos in a 3-1 win, with all three goals coming through the Colombian.

Just before the half hour mark he broke the deadlock, heading in James Tavernier’s cross. Before half-time, he scored again, shrugging off pressure from the Kilmarnock defence and firing a pinpoint finish into the corner of the net.

With Rangers in control, disaster struck when Borna Barisic deflected a cross into his own net early on in the second half. The pressure was eased by yet another Morelos goal as Tavernier set him up yet again to tap into the net and complete his hat-trick.

Here’s what we can take from the tie…

Rangers can’t afford to lose Alfredo Morelos

Just as speculation about interest in the 22-year-old heats up again, he produces arguably his greatest performance in a Rangers shirt by netting a hat-trick against Kilmarnock with three impressive finishes.

Gerrard opted to withdraw the striker, who was on a yellow card, after his third goal but if he had continued he could have scored more. It’s clear that if Rangers want to be a success, they need a prolific goalscorer like Morelos, irregardless of whatever money is put on the table from elsewhere.

Steven Gerrard will take every competition seriously

The Rangers boss put out a strong side to face Kilmarnock in the Scottish League Cup and made it clear that he will not be taking any risks, despite also handling a title challenge in the Scottish Premier League and hoping to reach the Europa League group stages.

After several rounds of qualifiers, it would have been easy for the boss to rest key men like Morelos but he opted to stick with them and give the team the best possible chance of victory and reaching the next round.

James Tavernier is just as crucial to this team as Morelos

Many will be distracted by the headlines and the fact that Morelos netted a hat-trick, but on closer inspection it’s clear to see that the same man set up all three of his goals: James Tavernier. From full-back, he is proving to be one of the team’s most creative outputs.

The 26-year-old has been one of the team’s most outstanding performers since Gerrard arrived and it’s clear that he is fundamental to his coach’s plans.

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What price should Rangers consider selling Alfredo Morelos amid Bordeaux interest?

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Photo: Getty Images.

Rangers are under pressure to sell star striker Alfredo Morelos after rejecting a bid worth £3.75 million from French club Bordeaux, claim BBC Sport. Morelos’ future was uncertain for much of the summer but finally appeared to be settled until the Ligue Un club came calling.

Having recently sold Malcom to Barcelona, the interested party are not short of funds but are in need of another forward to bolster their front line and it’s clear to see why. Yet, as Steven Gerrard has made very clear in an angry press conference rant, £3.75 million will not be enough to persuade Rangers to part ways.

That said, the manager himself admitted that every player has his price and it now remains to be seen if the French outfit can produce the price that the Scottish side have in mind.

“The message to Bordeaux is we don’t want to sell. If they want the player then they need to show some respect and come blow us out the water with a massive, massive bid. Otherwise don’t pick the phone up. It’s the right decision to reject it, it’s nowhere near high enough. Teams can’t think they can knock at our door and pinch our best players for derisory bids. It’s not going to happen. For me, I want him to stay. I want him to sign a new deal on improved terms and help the rest of us be successful moving forward.”

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was clear in not wanting to allow Morelos to depart.

With not long left in the transfer window, with key markets in England and Italy having shut, it’s clear to see why Gerrard may be reluctant to allow his first choice striker to depart regardless of the fee offered.

Already this season, the youngster has shown both the best and the worst of his game. His sending off for a petulant kick on the opening day was exactly what Gerrard will not want in his team, yet he will be well aware of the fact that he can score goals just as he did against St. Mirren the following weekend.

Pinning down a number that Rangers would accept seems difficult, but it’s hard to imagine that it would not be into eight figures. If so, it may be too good a fee to turn down if it comes imminently enough to allow Gerrard to find a replacement.

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Three things learnt from Rangers’ qualification over Maribor: Morelos hasn’t learned

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Photo: Getty Images.

Rangers only needed a 0-0 draw to see out a 3-1 first leg win and secure qualification for the Europa League’s final qualifying round by beating Maribor in Slovenia.

A 91st minute penalty was the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock on the night with the hosts proving to be the more dominant of the two teams, but they failed to turn their chances and possession into goals.

Here’s what can be learned from the game…

McGregor is the quality of goalkeeper Rangers need

Having made six saves, including an injury time penalty from Marcos Tavares, Alan McGregor has continued to show that he is the kind of goalkeeper that the team need having failed to ever really replace him.

Now being asked to perform at a higher level than ever before to push the team into European football, the 36-year-old is showing that he has what it takes after having been with Hull in the second tier.

Gerrard is going for the Mourinho style of media management

Steven Gerrard remains unbeaten in his role as a manager at senior level, yet many are still beginning to learn what to expect from the former Liverpool captain. Perhaps surprisingly, his attitude when addressing the press has drawn comparisons to Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, who he has never hidden his admiration for.

“They had confidence, they had ego, and they are devastated. They had no respect for us, but my players have proved over two legs we are better than Maribor, and that gives me great confidence going forward.”

Gerrard shocked some with his post-match comments.

The former England man’s ‘us against the world’ attitude was previously evident following claims of refereeing conspiracies against Aberdeen. He’s made it clear that he is no novice learning his trade, but is willing to come out fighting.

Morelos hasn’t learned

Despite having been sent off against Aberdeen, only for the decision to later be overturned, for lashing out, Alfredo Morelos was at it again against Maribor. His temperament got the better of him and, in a heated affair, he was involved in numerous altercations.

Few doubt his potential and his ability, but concerns over his discipline remain. With Bordeaux having made a £3.75 million bid, which was instantly rejected according to BBC Sport, Rangers may well be tempted to cash in if he can’t prove that he can behave himself and avoid referees having to take action.

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