John Souttar and Filip Helander will both remain out of action until at least when the Premiership restarts following the World Cup at the end of the year.
The defensive duo are among a list of long term injuries for Rangers with Ianis Hagi also expected to be out until 2023.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men have struggled defensively in recent weeks and suffered back to back heavy defeats to Celtic, Ajax and Napoli earlier this month.
But the Dutchman revealed on Friday that they still have a while to wait before any reinforcements arrive.
He said: “We will expect John after the World Cup. I have a lot of sympathy for John.
“He brought the problem with him when he changed teams.
“We needed to operate on him again so he feels much better now.
“It is always difficult to play with pain. It is the first time in many months that he is pain-free and he can do his rehab so hopefully that is the end of all the difficult times he had and bringing him back to full fitness and get him going.”
Van Bronckhorst also confirmed that Helander, who has a foot injury which has kept him out since April, is also out until after the Qatar competition, saying, “I don’t know the timescale for his injury”.
He reported new injuries since the 2-1 win over Dundee United before the international break which means goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and Tom Lawrence remain out although striker Kemar Roofe is back training and he will be assessed, with the Dutchman hoping he is back “sooner rather than later.”
Despite a difficult September for Rangers they go into Saturday’s early kick-off against Hearts knowing a win would put them top of the league for at least a couple of hours until Celtic play Motherwell in Glasgow.
On the flipside if Hearts win 2-0 or better then they will leapfrog Rangers into second place.
Souttar was signed from Hearts in a pre-contract deal in January before joining up with last season’s Europa League finalists in the summer.
But the 26-year-old Scotland international has struggled for fitness and has only made one appearance when he was taken off after an hour in a 2-1 win over Livingston in the first game of the season.
After being injured for most of last season Helander last played in a 4-0 win over St Mirren in April.
The Swedish defender has not made an appearance this season.
The Premiership stops for the World Cup on November 12 before returning on December 17 – a day before the final in Qatar.
Rangers play Hibs on the league’s return before travelling to Ross County on Christmas Eve and hosting Motherwell on December 28.
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