So it’s the big one this weekend, and the biggest selection dilemma for Michael Beale and Rangers is Alfredo Morelos or Antonio Colak up top.
This one has fans divided – Morelos’ heart isn’t at Ibrox and he’s been atrocious for a long time, aside one admittedly fine assist which had the ‘Colak is rotten’ mob in raptures recently (they ignored the fact Tony was out of position on the right in that same match), before Alfie was back to type v Utd.
He is a better target man in the sense that he causes defences more trouble than Colak has been able to in recent times, but equally his shooting is ghastly and the work rate isn’t what it used to be. His attitude as well is mostly deplorable.
That ‘nuisance’ factor, though, is what makes so many fans veer towards him to face Celtic, but given he has just three goals against them in 7 years (21 matches) gives some idea of how ineffective he’s actually been against the Parkhead side despite all the hype about the type of player he is.
It’s a misnomer – like many Rangers players, he falls short in those matches and if managers get judged on results v Celtic, so should players. In that sense he’s been dreadful in those ones. PS no assists either.
Hasn’t been given a fair chance at all since Michael Beale came in, some fans have dismissed his stunning early season form, forgetting all about it, and he’s only started a single match v Celtic during the horror big three under Gio when Rangers were tonked by Celtic, Napoli and Ajax in 10 days.
In short, Colak cannot be judged v Celtic, with just one start, while Morelos sure can with 21.
The argument against Colak is ‘he isn’t Morelos’ or that he’s limited in his play – the fans saying this ignore his monumental performance v Eindhoven against a world class side in Holland where he played a better match as target man than Morelos ever did, at a much higher level too. And he scored as well.
Morelos could do it in the Europa League, but in the Champions League he was ghastly in that role. He missed two open goals for God’s sake.
Celtic? Colak deserves a chance to give it what he has – he deserves to start and prove he can play the role fans seem to think he can’t.
He also wants to be at Ibrox, long term, even if there are misgivings that Michael Beale likes him all that much.
See, why Colak should start is his movement – he won’t drag defenders around and he won’t win many fouls, but he will make the runs Todd Cantwell, Ryan Kent and Malik Tillman will be able to see, with the intelligence in these three matching his movement in the way they don’t get from Morelos.
Morelos’ movement isn’t bad, but he is not the natural predator Colak is, being closer, at times, to a false nine than a proper goalscorer.
Colak, on the other hand, is a bit like Jermain Defoe, but bigger and stronger. He has the brilliant finishing, the superb movement, but he can also fend off defenders in a way Defoe couldn’t.
So yes, we’d start the Croat, but we’re pretty sure Michael Beale will not.
We’ll find out this weekend.