Alfredo Morelos treble proves his worth to Rangers

Alfredo Morelos treble proves his worth to Rangers

Rangers 3 - 1 Kilmarnock

Alfredo Morelos proved he is invaluable to Rangers as his hat-trick sent Steven Gerrard's men into the Betfred Cup last eight with a 3-1 win at Kilmarnock.

The little striker was the subject of a £3.75million bid from Bordeaux earlier this week but Gerrard warned it could take three times that figure to prise him away from Ibrox.

And the asking price is likely to rise even further after the Colombian stunned Steve Clarke's men at Rugby Park with his first Light Blues treble.

It could have been four had the officials not missed the 22-year-old's early strike which TV replays showed had crossed the line.

Borna Barisic briefly gave Killie hope with an own goal just after half-time but apart from that and a worrying knee injury sustained by Jamie Murphy it was a stress-free afternoon for Gerrard's team.

Both sides made changes in goal as Gers stopper Allan McGregor was given a rest following his Europa League heroics against Maribor, with Wes Foderingham returning for his first start of the campaign, while Clarke handed a debut to Daniel Bachmann.

It took the visitors just seven minutes to beat the Watford loanee as Morelos got a toe to Ryan Kent's cross from the right.

The striker should have left no room for doubt by bursting the net but he certainly did enough to get it over the line before Stephen O'Donnell could hook away.

But the goal was missed by referee Nick Walsh and his assistant Daniel McFarlane who waved play on.

There was a further blow when the visitors lost Murphy early after he appeared to twist his left knee on Killie's plastic pitch and was stretchered off with head in hands as Daniel Candeias took his place.

Morelos was again frustrated as Bachmann blocked well with his legs, while former Ibrox wideman Chris Burke sparked a fine save from Foderingham with a free-kick from out wide.

But there was no denying Morelos on 28 minutes as he grabbed the opener.

Scott Arfield, Andy Halliday and Candeias led a counter-attack as James Tavernier was found out wide, whose cross was bulleted home at close-range.

Killie were almost level five minutes later as Kirk Broadfoot smacked a header off the bar but it was Gers who doubled their lead on 43 minutes.

Tavernier's long ball down the right-hand channel should have been dealt with by Scott Boyd but he allowed himself to be rolled by Morelos, who made the defender pay as he angled a low finish past Bachmann.

The jubilant Light Blues faithful were quick to dig out the oles as their side started the second period by spraying the ball about.

It was home support who were cheering on 51 minutes though as Barisic diverted Jordan Jones' cross into his own net.

But it was game over with 16 minutes left as Ovie Ejaria, Arfield and Tavernier worked together to lay on Morelos one last time as he tucked home his hat-trick from close-range.

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