The real reason why Morelos was dropped by Rangers boss Gerrard for Celtic Old Firm derby

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has dropped Alfredo Morelos to the bench for the Old Firm derby against Celtic at Ibrox.

The former England international decided to start Jermain Defoe in the more advanced role, leaving Morelos as a substitute.

Gerrard has revealed that there were two reasons why he decided to drop Morelos in favour of Defoe.

The Colombian striker isn’t as fresh as Defoe after helping Rangers to seal a place in the Europa League, he revealed.

He also said that Defoe performed very well against Celtic last season, which had a big role to play in his decision-making process.

“[It was a] very tough decision,” Gerrard told Sky Sports before the match. “It wasn’t the only tough decision I had to make.

“I’ve gone for the freshness. Alfredo had to put an awful lot into Thursday night right ’til the death, so I’ve gone for Jermaine in that area who I trust.

“He’s very experienced and did the job here in the last Old Firm very, very well, in and out of possession. So that’s the reason why he got the nod.

“But, having said that, Alfredo’s still got a very big part to play because at some point he will be needed.”

Defoe has scored six times in all competitions so far this season while Morelos has 14.

Gerrard will also be looking to put a marker down in the Scottish Premiership title race, despite it being early on in the season.

“Every time we play we always want to put a marker down,” he added.

“It’s obviously very early in the season; it’s only the fourth league game in, but it’s an Old Firm game, and there’s an international break on the back of it, so we want to do everything we can to get an important victory.”

Both Rangers and Celtic have a 100 per cent record so far in the Premiership, after three games.

The Hoops top the table on goal difference, as it stands.