ALEX Rae’s combative instincts may have served him well growing up on the tough streets of Dennistoun, a working-class area of Glasgow where you needed to get your retaliation in first if you wanted to survive, as a boy.

Yet, as a professional footballer they led him into a few too many scrapes with opponents and brushes with authority than was necessarily healthy for his career.

It finally dawned on the ball-winning midfielder that he needed to do something about his dire disciplinary record when he picked up a four match ban – the day he made his comeback from a three game suspension.

The then Sunderland player sought out the professional help of a sports psychologist after that fateful encounter with Spurs at White Hart Lane in 2000 and successfully conquered the demons which had blighted his playing days as a result.

Rae, speaking at a Ladbrokes media event in Glasgow yesterday, was at pains to point out that he wasn’t offering Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, another individual who could benefit from learning how to channel his aggression properly, any advice.

However, the Scot's experiences would certainly seem to suggest that it would be a route the temperamental Colombian should seriously consider going down if he wants to progress to a higher level.

“I remember speaking to Ian Wright about his years ago,” said Rae. “He said if you take that edge away from players you take away part of their game.

“I don’t quite subscribe to that. From my own experience, if you get on top of that stuff it can help. I went to see someone when I was 29 or 30 after a couple of red cards. My disciplinary record improved dramatically after that. The club benefitted and I benefitted.

“I had just come back from a three-match ban and in my first game back I was banned for four games for accidentally elbowing David Ginola. I realised I needed to get on top of that. I had more control over the way I was behaving.

“I came from the East End. You asked questions later. I was worried about getting hurt and was lashing out. After seeing someone I realised I didn’t need to lash out. It was an irrational fear because I hadn’t really had a serious injury in the previous 13 years.

“I’m not saying this is what Morelos should be doing, but it did help me. I’m not telling anybody at Rangers what they should do.”

Rae, who played at the highest level in England with both Sunderland and Wolves before joining his beloved Rangers, felt that Morelos would be hard-pushed to win a move to the top flight down south this time last season.

But now? He believes Premier League clubs will be queuing up to secure the services of the little South American in the summer given how much he has progressed as a player in the past 12 months.

And he dismissed suggestions the striker’s frequent infractions this season – he has been red carded on four occasions, one of which was reduced to a yellow on appeal, at home and abroad - would deter interested parties from spending big money

He thinks his current employers will be able to demand upwards of £20 million for a player who has scored 28 times to date in all competitions in the 2018/19 campaign.

Stewart Robertson, the Ibrox managing director, told a Rangers supporters convention in New Zealand this week that they rate their striker as highly as Moussa Dembele, who Celtic sold to French club Lyon for £20m in the summer.

Asked at a Ladbrokes media event if Morelos is as good as Dembele, Rae said: “He is. Look at the goals he has got this year. He is 22 and the development he has undergone in the last year has been remarkable.

“It is a seller’s market as well. So why not put a big price on him? It is Rangers’ prerogative. He has just signed a new contract a month or so ago. They have every right to ask for us much as they want. With the Chinese market and other markets, players of that ilk are hard to get.

“When you look at Morelos last season he ran offside in one of the Old Firm games about four times. From that guy there to the guy now, the progress over a year has been remarkable.

“He is bullying centre halves and scoring goals. He has a lot of good attributes. If you also think how much it impacts Rangers when he’s not playing. His importance to Rangers just now is massive. If he continues to progress in this manner you start thinking just how far can he go?”

Brendan Rodgers, who moved from Celtic to Leicester City last week, has been linked with Morelos and Rae feels that moving to the King Power Stadium outfit would be a logical progression for a forward who was plying his trade in Finland two years ago.

“I think he will go to a stepping stone club,” he said. “A club like Leicester would be a good move. Look at van Dijk and Wanyama – that is the career path Morelos will be looking to take. He won’t go from Rangers straight to a top four or top six team.

“If you had asked me a year ago if he could follow in the footsteps on van Dijk and Wanyama I would have said he would do well to get a Premiership club. However, his trajectory over the past year has been incredible.

“If he can go down there and keep scoring goals he could kick on again. The level is so much higher and we don’t know how he will adapt.”

Rae doesn’t think Morelos’ propensity for getting himself sent off, often needlessly, will hinder his chances of achieving his ambition of playing in the Premier League in the future.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “Even I got a move back in the day. I genuinely don’t think it will deter people. If you take it over the course of his whole career it is just this season where there is a chequered record. I think he would cope the physicality down there.

“Up here people target him and antagonise him. Unfortunately, he has bitten a few times. He has bitten a few times and picked up red cards and that does need to improve.”