Gerrard: I can't defend Morelos anymore

Getty Images

Missed the match? Catch up via beIN SPORTS CONNECT

Morelos is the Scottish Premiership's top scorer this season with 17 goals, but his disciplinary record has hampered Gerrard's side on numerous occasions.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Celtic v Rangers

His latest indiscretion was an off-the-ball elbow on Scott Brown just after the half-hour mark at Celtic Park, referee Bobby Madden having no hesitation to send the striker off.

Despite having 10 men for the final hour of the match, Rangers still fought back to level, only to be beaten with four minutes to play by James Forrest's strike, sending Celtic 13 points clear at the summit. 

Gerrard cut a frustrated figure after the match and confirmed he was running out of ways to defend Morelos, who will be fined by Rangers.

"The reality is if you raise your arm you leave yourself wide open," he said. "Obviously he's been provoked in the first place, but it's happened on too many occasions now. 

"I've gone above and beyond, I've backed Alfredo more than enough and I can't defend him anymore, is the reality.

"He'll be punished internally for it and we'll move forward."

Gerrard felt Brown should have also been punished for his provocation, particularly after further incidents with Ryan Kent and Andy Halliday.

"You're playing against a player who loves to antagonise," Gerrard told Sky Sports. "Morelos and Kent are both provoked. 

"The guy who antagonised it all from the beginning [Brown] deserves to be punished as well. When you're provoked, it's only fair that both sides get punished in my view.

"We've hurt ourselves badly this season with a lack of discipline. I've given my players the benefit of the doubt on too many times. Morelos has asked me for a chat, and that will be picked up."

Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon came to the defence of Brown – who was seen laughing on the sidelines when Morelos made his way to the dressing room – and felt Rangers were lucky to finish the match with 10 men.

"I'm not happy with the treatment Scott Brown got today," he told BBC Sportsound. "He's been elbowed in the face [by Morelos] and he's been punched or pushed in the face by Ryan Kent.

"Rangers should have been down to nine. It's unacceptable."