Stewart Fisher

at De Kuip

ALFREDO Morelos wrote his name into the history books but Rangers still can’t quite write theirs into the draw for the last 32 of the Europa League.

There were fireworks off the pitch and on it and when the sulphur had subsided, honours were split between the midfielder general and the little general.

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers were behind, level, ahead, and then level again against Dick Advocaat’s side in the course of this riotous evening in Rotterdam only for a second-half comeback from Porto in Bern means that all is still to play for in Group G.

Rangers need a draw against Young Boys at Ibrox in a fortnight’s time to reach the knockout stages, but the night was a personal triumph for Alfredo Morelos whose two clinical headers meant he was the first Rangers player ever to score in four successive European games and was enough to surpass Henrik Larsson's Seville-season mark of 12 for goals for a Scottish club in a continental season.

What a din there was round this place, English translation “the tub”, as kick-off neared. Feyenoord may be languishing in mid-table in the Eredivisie right now but the kind of quantities of fireworks not seen since Sydney Harbour Bridge at the turn of the millennium welcomed Advocaat’s side onto the pitch.

There were pyrotechnics aplenty too at the end populated by 3000-plus Rangers fans, which quickly became a blaze of red light and fumes, alongside a large banner of the Joker. While many of them had timed their run late after spending the night in Amsterdam, there had been a definite edge to the bars and coffee shops of this port city all day. With a fair smattering of Celtic and Ajex scarves and flags thrown in for good measure, police were out in force at the stadium prior to kick-off attempting to keep the two sides apart. Don’t rule out further Uefa action against both sides after this one.

On the field, it was a bit of a slow burner but the action soon began to live up to the backdrop. As Gerrard, standing on the perimeter of the technical area, some 10 metres away from one of his predecessors in the role, wee Advocaat still a force of nature at 72 years of age, his team felt their way into the match. Good news from a Rangers point of view was the fact that Young Boys had taken an early lead against Porto, but Rangers found themselves on the back foot immediately.

Skipper Steven Berghuis, who causes menace with his left foot as he wanders in off the right, sprung Orkun Kokcu, and while his shot was blocked, notice had been served.

Allan McGregor performed his customary miracles to palm a downward header from central defender Eric Botteghin, knocking the ball high in the air, Leroy Fer knocked the rebound off the junction of post and bar. A low shot from Sam Larsson required a touch from the goalkeeper as it passed into the sidenetting, then striker Luis Sinisterra blazed over from Lutsharel Geertruia’s low cross.

At the other end, for all the endeavour of Ryan Kent in particular, all Rangers had to show for their efforts were the couple of occasions when they caught the Dutch attempting to play in the wrong area. Berghuis cutely nutmegged Morelos on the edge of his own box but Glen Kamara pilfered possession and the Colombian striker was just out of reach from Ojo’s low cross.

A goal looked like it was coming and it duly arrived, even if it came with a huge element of misfortune from a Rangers perspective. While Barisic got his head to a Feyenoord corner, the danger still wasn’t clear. An exchange of passes on the edge of the box left Jens Toornstra in space. Even still, his hopeful effort was flying well wide until it deflected off Filip Helander and deposited itself in the bottom corner of the Rangers net. Things could have been even worse for Rangers as they trooped off at half-time had McGregor not been equal to an effort from Berghuis, on his weaker right foot, when he was played clean through on goal.

Morelos had been a non-factor to this point but that all changed just seven minutes into the second period as he claimed a unique piece of Rangers history. Steven Davis, who lost narrowly at this venue in the colours of Northern Ireland last month, started it, spearing a peach of a long pass to Kent. The former Liverpool man, probably the Ibrox side’s best player in that first half, produced a cross which was maybe even better. Morelos did the rest, cushioning in a fine header back past Nick Marsman and into the corner of the net.

That was European goal No.12 for the little Colombian this season, and No.13 wasn’t far away, a record fourth European game in a row in which a Rangers player has scored. He had time to sting in a low right-foot shot which Marsman did well to push behind before it arrived. Again it came from a cross from the left, Kamara funnelling a ball wide to Barisic, who picked up another European assist with a wicked ball which Morelos met sweetly to direct another beauty of a header into the other top corner.

It was all going so well you almost forgot about the threat the home side had posed in the first half. That was a mistake because out of the blue Feyenoord were level, Sinisterra running through on goal to clip in a lovely finish past McGregor.