Mark Hateley: Rangers striker branded ‘waste of time’ in Union Saint-Gilloise defeat as Morelos return nears

Antonio Colak’s performance came under the microscope with Alfredo Morelos expected to win his fitness battle ahead of second leg at Ibrox next Tuesday.

Rangers legend Mark Hateley branded summer signing Antonio Colak a ‘waste of time’ after delivering a scathing assesment of their 2-0 Champions League first-leg defeat to Union Saint-Gilloise.

Teddy Tuema and Dante Vanzeir scored in either half of the third qualifying round tie to leave Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side on the brink of exiting the competition at the same stage for the second successive year.

In what proved to be a uncharacteristically lacklustre European display from last season’s Europa League finalists, Hateley slated his former club for learning almost nothing about their Belgian opponents after rarely posing a threat to Anthony Moris’ goal.

Rangers' Antonio Colak and Union's Christian Burgess fight for the ball (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

The Ibrox great - an imposing striker who terrorised opposition defences in Scotland throughout the 1990s - was also critical of Croatian frontman Colak, who led the line once more in the absence of Alfredo Morelos.

Speaking on BBC Sportsound, he said: “It was a poor, poor show - weak and blunt. Union figured Rangers out after 25 minutes.

“We don’t even know if Union’s back three are any good. Is the goalkeeper any good? We don’t know.

“Colak, for me, was a waste of time. If Morelos is playing, the ball goes in to him. Colak didn’t demand the ball.

“At the end of the day, Rangers are very, very lucky to come away with a 2-0 defeat. You could see a second goal coming all second half. Then you worry about the third goal.”

Rangers must now overturn the two-goal deficit next Tuesday when the tie returns to Glasgow but they are likely to receive a vital pre-match boost with talisman Morelos expected to be available for selection.

Alfredo Morelos joined Rangers from HJK Helsinki in 2017 under Pedro Caixinha. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Morelos is eligible to play next week and he could be tasked with rescuing the Ibrox side’s Champions League ambitions after Van Bronckhorst hinted the 26-year-old should win his fitness battle in time.

He revealed: “I think that is realistic. He has been training with us for quite some time and he is getting better and sharper every day.

“We also have him in the UEFA list for this round so hopefully he will continue and he will be there next week.

“The performance we had, if you have one or two players below their level they normally are, maybe with the other eight you can change it on the pitch. But had too many players who didn’t play and weren’t their usual self.”