STEVEN GERRARD is confident Alfredo Morelos will learn his disciplinary lesson and not make the same mistake twice as he walks a suspension tightrope against Aberdeen tonight.

The striker goes into Rangers’ Scottish Cup replay with Derek McInnes’ side knowing that a yellow card would rule him out of the semi-final with Celtic should the Light Blues progress to the last four.

Morelos missed the Betfred Cup clash with the Dons at Hampden in October after being booked against Ayr United and his absence was costly for Rangers as they suffered a 1-0 defeat.

But boss Gerrard has backed the Colombian to write the headlines for all the right reasons this evening as Rangers prepare for their biggest 90 minutes of the campaign.


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He said: “I think that will be in his mind. There was no one more frustrated in the last semi-final than Alfredo as he was sitting in the stand – not being able to help his team-mates and the club he loves.

“He loves the supporters. That’s got to be in his thinking on Tuesday.

“What do the fans want to see from Alfredo’s performance? They want to see the best individual performance on the pitch, they want him to score, to be the match winner.

“But they also, come the final whistle, want to be in a semi-final with Alfredo available.

“That’s what the fans want and that’s what Alfredo will want to deliver.

“We won’t tell him to hold it back. I think he just needs to focus on the football and not get involved in any other stuff.

“He just needs to play fair and try and bring his A game onto the itch. That’s all he needs to do.

“We won’t be asking or telling him to take anything away from his game – to hold back or anything.

“We want Alfredo on maximum. But he needs to be professional and disciplined and he’s capable of that. He’s done it before.


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“I’m sure people will be wanting to get into his ribs and wind him up. We get that.

“But hopefully the officials are aware of that and give him a fair crack. That’s all we ask for.”

Gerrard has repeatedly defended Morelos over his disciplinary record this season despite the fact that the 22-year-old has been sent off four times – three of which have come against Aberdeen – in recent months.

There was never any chance of Gerrard resting his main goal threat against Derek McInnes' side.

And the Liverpool legend has backed his star striker to keep his cool in the heat of battle and avoid another unnecessary suspension should Rangers reach Hampden.He said: “Of course I accept that [defenders will wind him up]. That’s football and that’s rivalry. You can’t take one on one duels away from the game.

“That’s why we all love big games and big rivalries whether it’s in this league or any other one.

“You are always tuning in to watch these individual battles or teams going head to head in games of this magnitude. That’s why we love the game.

“I can’t think [of games I missed out on as a player] off the top of my head but definitely is the answer.


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“I’ve missed plenty of big games. When you play for Liverpool the next game is always your biggest.

“I’m not sure how many reds or yellows built up for me to miss big games but I definitely missed a few.

“I don’t think I missed a really high profile one like a semi or a final or even a quarter final.

“But I’ve certainly missed big games through suspension and being naïve and stupid.

“It’s a horrible place to be in – to be in the stands and not available when you want to play.

“So that’s got to be in all the players’ thinking. Stay on the pitch and do your job with the ball and try and not get involved in anything stupid.”