The new season may only be four games old for Rangers but a familiar narrative is already emerging of promising attacking build-up marred by a failure to show ruthlessness when it counts.

Michael Beale rightly pinpointed his team's inability to take chances as a key factor in last season's failure to lift silverware and he's already bemoaned the finishing this term, urging his men to demonstrate more composure in the final third after a win over Livingston. They didn’t respond in midweek.

Rangers should have breezed past Servette, an inferior side who the 3-2 aggregate scoreline in the Champions League qualifier flattered. The tie could have been done and dusted within 37 minutes had Sam Lammers found the net with a simple chance to go 3-0 up in the first half at Ibrox but the Dutchman blasted the ball wide. Rangers lacked a killer instinct over the two legs, a situation that became even more obvious in Geneva where at least three excellent opportunities were squandered, leaving the Champions League qualifier on a knife edge till the last kick of the ball.

Strikers Cyriel Dessers and Danilo arrived in the summer for significant fees in an attempt to beef up the scoring output of the team from last season. No serious judgements can yet be accurately made of the duo, who are both attempting to find both fitness and rhythm with their new teammates after what Beale described as “broken” pre-seasons. That said, it’s fair to say neither has had the most auspicious of starts with Danilo missing an open goal against the Swiss and Dessers hitting the post when one on one with the keeper.

It's rarely wise to go all-in with early judgments on Old Firm strikers as the ghosts of sportswriters past will testify over the likes of Mark Hateley, misfiring for months then clicking into gear and becoming a bona fide club legend. It goes without saying these two signings need time and patience before we can truly assess their suitability to take Rangers to the trophies they so crave.

In the end up, one or both will have to solve a striking conundrum that’s has been an issue for Rangers for at least a year despite carrying one of the most explosive strikers in Europe on their books until the summer. I refer, of course, to the Buffalo-sized hole in the squad left by one Alfredo Morelos.

At his best for a spell under Gerrard in 2018 when he bullied the likes of Pepe at Porto, Morelos was a one-man wrecking ball that occupied defences on his own. It was a marvel to see and when Rangers faced down a £16.5m bid from Lille, there were few close observers who felt their counter-demand for £20m was less than market value. History has not looked kindly on that decision but the logic pre-Covid seemed understandable given the length of contract, age and apparent trajectory of the player’s form.

Potentially frustrating or devastating depending on his mood, Morelos was starving for goals in European games but crucially never hit more than 18 in the league, often giving the distinct impression he reserved his best for the continental stage. The situation was so brazen that even former manager Steven Gerrard was moved to joke about it post-match after another barnstorming Euro display, suggesting that watching scouts acted as a significant motivational force.

In the here and now, despite his old team yet to be sure they have found a striker of his calibre on their books, his career is taking an increasingly sad trajectory. He remains without a contract despite being free to negotiate a deal since June and the season having started in most top leagues.

A man whose body type means he only needs to look at a seafood platter to pile on the pounds, the failure to do a proper preseason programme will have likely set him back enormously. His agent Martin Camagno, who must be a man under a bit of pressure, said last week: "I am negotiating with several top clubs from Russia who are interested in signing Alfredo. There is a very strong championship in Russia, which Alfredo looks at with great admiration."

Make no mistake, despite these honeyed words, a move to Russia is not where anyone saw this player’s career taking him. He only just turned 27 in June and should be coming into his peak in a top-five league. Conversely, you suspect he is already on a downward slope, likely irreversible.

Rumours about the Colombian’s lifestyle were often the subject of taxi driver scuttlebutt across his time in Glasgow. Talking to club insiders didn’t do much to dispel even some of the more seemingly apocryphal tales. By his final season in Light Blue, his perceived lack of commitment and professionalism had Giovanni van Bronckhorst hitting the nuclear button and leaving him out of a do-or-die Champions League play-off with PSV.

It turns out that turning it on and off can only last so long before the failure to live the monk-like life of a dedicated professional athlete catches up with you. And yet, as recently as the Europa League final run in early 2022, Morelos was turning the clock back and tormenting world-class players at Dortmund across two legs. Injury was to rob him of the chance to make history in the latter stages of that tournament, a sliding doors moment he must lament given Van Bronckhorst was forced to field Joe Aribo as a makeshift striker in his stead.

Last term was lamentable for a player capable of hitting such lofty heights, with the Colombian failing to spark, even under new boss Micheal Beale with whom he shares a good understanding. His mind looked elsewhere, as if contemplating a lucrative move that now looks to have been more imagined than tangible reality.

In the years to come Morelos will surely look back with tortured thoughts on what might have been. He had the talent to earn the huge money he so patently desired, but ultimately not the commitment to the high-performance existence that elite-level football now demands.

He’s not the first and won’t be the last to suffer that fate. Scottish football is littered with such stories. But what Rangers wouldn’t give for a striker with Morleos’ physical and technical gifts in his peak years and mentally focused. Such a player would be genuinely transformational. It’s a tragedy for player and club that it ended this way - a tale of talent never truly fulfilled.