THE striker who was on target 20 times as Rangers went undefeated in League One in the 2013/14 season has hailed Steven Gerrard for the tactical switch that enabled Alfredo Morelos to rediscover his goalscoring form at the weekend.

And he has predicted that playing Morelos, who netted a brace in a 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday, in a more advanced role in the weeks ahead will help the Ibrox club to extend their 23 match unbeaten run in the Premiership and lift their first Scottish title since 2011.

Jon Daly, who spent two seasons in Govan when the Glasgow giants were making their way through the lower divisions, is now assistant manager to Jonatan Johansson, the coach responsible for bringing Morelos to Scotland, at TPS in Finland.

However, Daly still takes a close interest in how his old club are faring and has been delighted to see them do so well both domestically and in Europe during the 2020/21 campaign.

The Irishman has been impressed with how Morelos has performed for Rangers since football restarted back in August even though the Colombian hasn’t scored as prolifically as he did in his first three seasons in this country.

However, he can appreciate why Gerrard, who is missing Kemar Roofe through injury at the moment, urged the Colombian to push further forward and concentrate on playing between the posts in the Aberdeen penalty box on Sunday.

And he thinks that keeping the 24-year-old is his favoured position in attack during the run-in will ensure that Rangers don’t suffer the catastrophic collapses that have ended their Premiership bids in the last two years.

“As a striker you are in the team to both score goals and to create goals,” said Daly. “If you aren’t scoring goals, you want to contribute in other ways. I have seen quite a few games this season where Alfredo has helped the team even though he hasn’t been on target.

“Alfredo coming short has actually created space for other players to run in behind. The goal that Ryan Kent scored against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on the opening day of the season was a perfect example of that.

“But ultimately you want your main talisman in the opposition box and in and around the goals. The goals that he scored on Sunday stemmed from him being that focal point in the box and being in an area where he can get the ball at his feet, take a touch and have a hit at goal – which is what he is really good at.

“It is about getting him back into that mindset, getting him back to being the striker who does that. It is excellent management from Steven and his backroom staff that they have asked him to focus on what he is best at.”

Morelos was dropped by Gerrard as a result of his disappointing displays, poor fitness and questionable attitude shortly after Rangers turned down a £16m bid from French club Lille in the summer.

Daly, who played for Stockport County and Hartlepool in England before moving to Scotland and joining Dundee United, knows how unsettling that uncertain period will have been for the South American centre forward.

But the former Hearts coach believes that Rangers’ all-time record European goalscorer, who took his tally for this term to 10 with his double on Sunday, has become a more complete footballer since reclaiming his place and could actually have increased his market value considerably.

“I am sure all the transfer speculation about him will have played on Alfredo’s mind,” he said. “That can have an impact on a player. But that seems to have calmed down now.

“When you compare his goal tally from last season to this season (Morelos had scored 28 goals by this stage in the 2019/20 campaign) it is very easy to say that he isn’t playing well. But you have to actually look at what he has brought to the team when he has played. Personally, I think he has done a good job linking play.

“People have maybe criticised him when he has come deep, but that is because they see him as that out-and-out striker. But if you can only play a certain way you are limited, you can only feature when the manager wants to play that certain way. It’s great that Alfredo has shown that he can do more. It gives Steven great options.

“Steven can play him through the middle, up on his own as the main target, and know he will go at opposition defences and cause havoc. But now he can also play him deeper so that he frees up space for Roofe. I think it shows the level that Alfredo can play at that he can adapt so well to what is being asked of him.”

Daly helped Rangers to win 33 and draw just three of their 36 games in League One back in the 2013/14 campaign – but he acknowledged that going the entire Premiership campaign without losing will be a far greater accomplishment.

“I wouldn’t compare what Rangers have done this season to what we did,” he said. “The levels are completely different. We were a full-time team playing against part-time teams and, no disrespect to them, were expected to beat them.

“To do it in the top division against the top teams it would be a remarkable feat. Still, it was a fantastic achievement for us to go the league season unbeaten regardless of the level. It was great to be part of it. You just had to focus on the next game.

“That is what Steven stresses all the time when he is interviewed – that they can’t look too far ahead. He just has to keep reiterating that to all of his players. They can’t allow themselves to look beyond the next game. If they do that, that is when they will slip up. That will be getting drummed into the players.

“They have a magnificent chance to win back the title now. It is fantastic to see them in this position. I always look to see how they are doing, watch them when I can and want them to succeed. It would be superb if they could do it this year and stop Celtic winning 10-In-A-Row.”