Morelos shows softer side as he awaits first Old Firm goal

Alfredo Morelos. Photo: PA

Conventional perspectives are so frequently discarded amid the cacophony before an Old Firm derby that reminders of mortality are all the more sobering.

Alfredo Morelos, for example, is a player known for his scoring feats - 29 goals, all from open play, this season, but none against Celtic in his time at Ibrox - and also the indiscipline that has cost him 17 yellow cards and four reds.

This week, however, a documentary screened on Rangers TV revealed Morelos's back story, including the death of a younger sister and a consequent pledge to his mother that he would take care of her and his family, and shone a softer light upon the 22-year-old from a tough background in the Colombian city of Cerete.

"It was fantastic that Alfredo did the documentary," said Steven Gerrard, the Rangers manager. "He's a normal player, a normal human being. He has feelings. He steps over the line and gets it wrong at times but he is young and naive and he'll settle down, but if you are judging the person, the inside of him, the film gives a better idea of what he is really about."

The Rangers manager, meanwhile, also addressed the condition of his assistant, Gary McAllister, as the former Scotland captain recuperated from an assault on him as he stood outside a Leeds pub with his wife last Saturday.

McAllister required hospital treatment for facial injuries and will not be at Celtic Park for the latest instalment of Glasgow's ancient football schism.

"It was horrendous. I woke up to eight missed calls so I knew there was a bit of a problem," Gerrard said. "He's one of those people who sits with his phone in his pocket and it maybe goes off once or twice a day - certainly, never eight times during the night.

"The sensible thing is to give him more recovery time but we will still be using him in the build-up. I'll speak to him on the morning of the game and I'm sure he will be sending information to us."

Neil Lennon, of course, was assaulted twice off the park and once on the side of the itch at Tynecastle in his previous incarnation as Celtic manager. Now, in the role of interim manager following the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester last month, Lennon is charged with completing the task of attaining an unprecedented third successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours.

With a 10-point gap between the Glasgow rivals and only eight league games left to play, Lennon acknowledged that he has breathing space. "My role here does not depend on Sunday, result-wise," he said. "It will depend on whether I can deliver the trophies, I assume, and in particular the league title. Everyone is speculating but, as far as I'm aware, my remit doesn't revolve around one game or two games. It revolves around what I have done since coming in the door."

Nevertheless, if Celtic repeat the feat of winning their second home meeting with Rangers, only an unprecedented collapse could deprive them of the title. "It would be a hammer blow [to Rangers] but again, not insurmountable," Lennon said.

Gerrard concurred, though he's adamant that, by other measures, Rangers have made up ground on the champions. "The reality is 13 points would be a big blow for us."