GIVEN his on-field persona, you might not think that dining out with Alfredo Morelos would be the most relaxing experience. Might he stick the nut on the waiter if he gets his order wrong? Or give a fly boot to your shins under the table if you take the last bit of bread?

When you get him away from a football pitch though, the Colombian’s close friend Nacho Novo says that he is far removed from the man who can seem to be at war with the world when he pulls on his Rangers jersey.

In fact, so content is Morelos with life in Scotland that Novo is trying to persuade his friend to stay at Rangers for a year or two longer, despite the seemingly prevailing assumption that his talents have now outgrown the relatively small pond of the Scottish Premiership. There will be plenty of time to seek pastures new after he has ironed out the kinks in his game here, is Novo’s theory.

“I told Alfredo it was better to stay here and play for a couple of years more,” Novo said.

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“In his first year, he was here and scoring. The next season was going to be tougher because players would know him. But he is still young, and he will always have opportunities to move somewhere else.

“He made his name with Rangers, including with the Colombia national team. So, he is going in the right direction. Hopefully, we can keep him.

“He likes it here, he does. He loves it. He is here with his wife, which really helps. He also has a very good friend in Danny Candeias. They are a good group together.

“Alfredo lives quietly away from football. He is a just a family boy, really. It is the right thing to do as a football player, especially here in Glasgow, because we know what it is like if you are with Rangers or Celtic, you are always going to get some abuse. But Alfredo lives the best way.

“I know him well. He’s a nice kid. He’s totally different in private than when he’s on the park. He’s a nice boy, speaks to everybody, has a laugh in the changing-room with the guys.

“Even when he scores on the park he doesn’t look happy but away from it, he smiles a lot. I’ve been out with him for meals. We don’t talk much about football, I just told him a few times he needed to control himself more on the park. But he’s an easy target and he’s still a young player.

“He’ll learn. We all make mistakes when we’re young.”

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The problem with staying in Scotland may be that opponents here are now all too familiar with Morelos’s propensity to take the bait, and know that while he may be difficult to contain through conventional means, it is relatively easy to get under his skin.

The latest successful attempt to rile him up came in Saturday’s draw with Kilmarnock, as former Rangers player Kirk Broadfoot provoked a furious response from Morelos by treading on his heel, although Morelos would regain his composure to fire home Rangers’ second-half equaliser.

“That’s been planned,” said Novo. “Kirk knows how to wind people up and that’s what it’s all about. Players are going to target strong personalities and wait for a reaction. Everybody wants to win a game and if you can get rid of the other team’s top goalscorer it’s a big help.

“It’s because he’s a good player. The good players are the ones they try to wind up. It’s easy to see from the outside but lots of players, all they do is try to wind him up, try to make him react. That happens - players try to get into your head. But he’s improving. And right now, Rangers miss him when he’s not on the park. He’s progressing and getting better and better since he arrived.

“I tell him the way to shut them up is bully them, just play your game and try to score goals.”

In the meantime, how does Rangers manager Steven Gerrard finally get the message through to his star man not to react when goaded if even pleas from close friends like Novo go unheeded? While Walter Smith used to keep his players in check with just a withering glare, Novo feels the time may have come to go a step further than just using words.

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“Don’t get me wrong, I love Alfredo to death,” Novo said. “He is a good pal of mine.

“But, and this is only what I would do, I think the best way would be to fine a player. Not fine them for the club, just to keep for the boys at the end of the season, or for a dinner for the whole team. I don’t like fining any players. But if I tell you one, two or three times…

“But it’s Alfredo’s reaction and it is how he is. It is in his nature. And if you take that from him maybe he is not the same player.

“Walter [Smith] didn’t use that route. He would close you in a room and tell you. What would he do with Alfredo? He would have a chat.

“Walter was the best manager I worked under. He would try to help the players all the time. At the same time, if you did something wrong Walter wouldn’t speak. He would just look at you. As soon as you saw those eyes and the angry face, that would scare you already. You’d think: ‘uh-oh, I’m in trouble. Walter was about respect.”

If current manager Gerrard hopes to be held in anything like the regard that Smith is, not only by Novo but by the Rangers support in general, then he will have to deliver silverware, and Novo is sure he can if given time.

“The way Rangers played against Aberdeen, with a place in the semi-final at stake, wasn’t good enough,” he said.

“But Steven Gerrard knew it was going to be a tough challenge before he came to Ibrox and I’m sure next season he’ll make changes.

“I still believe he has the potential to be a good manager. He’s a winner.”

*Nacho Novo will star in a Rangers Legends side against a Liverpool and English Premier League Select at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road this Saturday with funds raised going to Kilbride Hospice, The Emmie Smillie Charity Foundation and Hillsborough & Ibrox Disaster Memorial Fund. Tickets are available from ticketmaster.co.uk.