Billy Dodds believes Alfredo Morelos and James Tavernier should be axed by Rangers - as they are costing the club silverware.

Steven Gerrard's side lost to Celtic in the Betfred Cup final, were knocked out the Scottish Cup at the quarter-final stage, and face an uphill battle in Europe after going down 3-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash.

The Ibrox club also trail their rivals by 13 points in the race for the Scottish Premiership crown as the Govan side continue their quest for their first piece of major silverware in nine years. 

Morelos, 23, is in the midst of a serious form slump having scored just once in his last 12 matches and former Rangers forward Dodds believes the Colombian must shoulder the brunt of blame alongside his skipper for their side's failings this term.

HeraldScotland:

On his fellow striker, Dodds - who scored 21 goals in 65 appearances for Rangers - said: “I think Rangers have to make a definite decision with Alfredo Morelos once they get this season over with. If you are going to try and catch Celtic and that is your ambition, Morelos is a key player but there are certain games where he gets suspended and they can cost you. 

“People might disagree and say ‘he scores all those goals’, but look at Edouard, you don’t see him getting suspended. It is still continuous with Morelos and that is the biggest problem. He either gets suspended then he doesn’t turn up. That is costing you the title I don’t care what he’s doing in between because these games that Rangers need him most he is not there.

“It has cost them the Scottish Cup as well, because he didn’t come back in time for that one. If that keeps on getting thrown in continually as it has been with Morelos, then Rangers are not going to catch Celtic. Another thing that I’ve not chucked in he’s totally lost his form - since that Celtic game that he dived and was suspended he’s totally lost it. 

“Steven Gerrard might totally disagree with me but that is where I’m at with Alfredo Morelos especially. I’m sorry but you have to be thinking you have to cut all ties because they are never going to catch Celtic if they keep players like him.

“If Gerrard gambles he might think I’m not going to get anyone with Alfredo Morelos’ quality anywhere else. But I’m sorry if he continues not to turn up, and it is a big if, there’s no chance of catching Celtic.”

HeraldScotland:

Rangers captain Tavernier has also been the focal point for much of the anger from supporters in recent months as their campaign collapsed and their title ambitions were ended by shock results in the league and cup.

Gerrard has stuck by his skipper and admitted that the full-back has to take the criticism on his chin. Dodds, however, has questioned the defender's ability and suitability for the role.

He added: “People keep thinking I’m having a go at James Tavernier, he’s been there through all the lower leagues and there’s a mistake continuously thrown in. Now everybody makes mistakes but these are big ones. But he’s made four or five a season that have cost Rangers big games. Against Hearts in the cup, even in Europe when they faced Young Boys it didn’t cost them but it is continuous.  

“He’s had a tough time this season because he has lost confidence and his manager had to stick by him. Gerrard has shown some loyalty to these players, but they are eventually costing him the title. 

“Tavernier is a good player, but I don’t think he is as brilliant as he thinks. Is he a captain? I’ll base him on Arthur Numan who was a standard setter. For me James Tavernier isn’t. People argue captains are different because on the park they can lead by example and they don’t have to shout. Arthur Numan led by example and didn’t shout. 

“For me Tavernier doesn’t lead by example and he doesn’t really talk through a game.”

Rangers face a lengthy layoff with the coronavirus pandemic taking centre stage and Scottish football entering shutdown mode. It remains to be seen what the SFA and SPFL opt for in terms of a viable option to see the season out. 

HeraldScotland:

But Dodds hopes Gerrard will be using his time wisely to mull over key decisions in his squad in preparation for the return to action. 

He added: “My point is if you are going to try and close that gap then for me those players aren’t working anymore. They have to change and a decision has to be made. 

“So looking to the long term, that’s been two years for Gerrard at Rangers, going into the third. How is he going to catch Celtic? I’m sorry but you’re not going to catch Celtic with that type of player, who is good enough on occasion but constantly lets you down. 

“Whether it is suspension, whether it is mistakes, whether it is not turning up, you have at some point got to say I have to change the philosophy somewhere along the line.

“I’m just putting it in black and white. I think you have to take the gamble at some point and say sorry I can’t continue with this and we won’t be catching Celtic if we keep these guys."