Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos is out of Sunday’s Old Firm derby, the Ibrox club has confirmed.
The Colombian was sent home from international duty with a muscle problem and pictures circulated on social media of the Rangers star on crutches at Glasgow Airport.
Manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has now confirmed that the in-form striker will miss Sunday’s top-of-the-table Premiership clash.
The extent of the injury and length of his absence aren’t yet known but he is expected to be sidelined for at least the next two weeks and miss the Europa League quarter-final against Braga.
Van Bronckhorst said: “We have to wait in the coming days because he will be assessed but I think it will be a long-term injury.
“We don’t know how long yet but hopefully we can give more news after the weekend.
“He’s out for sure. He had an muscle injury while on duty in Colombia.
“Unfortunately for all of us he won’t be with us on Sunday. We won’t have him back in the next couple of weeks, that’s for sure.”
Morelos has been in impressive form recently as Rangers look to defend the league title and also pursue success in the Scottish Cup and Europa League.
The forward has already found the net 19 times across all competitions and set up eight goals. His absence will come as a huge blow to Rangers as they prepare to face their rivals at Ibrox on Sunday.
Van Bronckhorst is now likely to turn to Kemar Roofe or Fashion Sakala to lead the attack in the Premiership clash.
The stakes are high in the derby with Rangers three points behind Celtic at the top of the table. Van Bronckhorst is targeting a win to pull level at the top but thinks the title race will go down to the wire.
“Of course last season we were champions for three weeks already at this point,” he said. “So that shows how quickly last season was decided.
“This year is closer and with the remaining games anything can happen.
“It’s definitely a close season, very competitive and I think it will go all the way to the end of the season.
“We have to make sure we win this game on Sunday then the remaining games will be all finals.
“It’s a challenge, but you want challenges in life and you must embrace them and work hard to be successful.”