Former Rangers captain David Weir insists Alfredo Morelos’ barren spell in front of goal after the winter break is the reason Celtic clinched nine-in-a-row.

The Hoops were crowned Premiership winners on Monday after opening up a 13-point lead at the summit before football was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rangers finished 2019 with a game in hand and only two points adrift of their fierce rivals after winning the December 29 Old Firm tussle.

Colombian international striker Morelos’ 12 league goals in a total of 28 in all competition contributed to a hugely encouraging first half of the season but he managed just one after the action resumed in January - and that came in the Scottish Cup against Hamilton.

Fellow striker Jermain Defoe was also plagued by a calf problem in that period but Weir has pinpointed Morelos’ loss of form as a critical factor in Celtic lifting silverware.

Weir, who also served as assistant manager at Ibrox under Mark Warburton until February 2017, said: “I think Rangers were really close this year, I genuinely do. Getting up to January, winning the game before the break, and after the break it didn’t work out the way anyone wanted.

“But in my mind, whether this is right or wrong, the thing that changed was Morelos stopped scoring.

“So, all of a sudden, the picture changes, Odsonne Edouard (Celtic striker) scored all season.

“Celtic, they had other players who scored but I thought he, and Leigh Griffiths coming in, made a difference.

“All of a sudden, Morelos went from scoring 25, 30 goals before Christmas, after Christmas I think it was one or two.

“That’s a big, big change in your game, a big change in what happens.

“Centre forwards at any level of football in my opinion make or break your team.

“If your centre forward is not scoring then the games become harder to win and if you’re not winning games, especially at Rangers, then it becomes difficult to win leagues.

“I thought, personally, that was the biggest change, goal scorers are worth their weight in gold.

“Defoe got injured as well which was a big loss, but Morelos not scoring had a real impact on Rangers after the break.

“It’s a really hard thing to replace when you don’t have a window to do it; it becomes really difficult.”

Weir, who won three league titles at Rangers between 2007 and 2012, insists getting any kind of silverware will be crucial for Rangers’ progress under current manager Steven Gerrard.

Speaking to The Longest Forty, he said: “Getting a trophy, I think that will be really important for Rangers moving forward.

“I think he (Gerrard) needs to win a trophy and that’s a really obvious thing to say.

“The first trophy is often the hardest, getting that first trophy under your belt.

“Whether it’s the cup or whatever it is, I just think that gives a bit of momentum and a bit of belief.”