Rangers will be without attacker Tom Lawrence when they face Celtic on Saturday, Giovanni van Bronckhorst has revealed.
The player strained his knee during his team’s 4-0 victory over Ross County last weekend and now faces a spell on the sidelines.
Van Bronckhorst doesn’t expect to have Lawrence back in the first team picture for a month and will have to plan without him for the top of the table clash against Ange Postecoglou’s side.
“Tom is not available for tomorrow,” the Rangers manager said. “Unfortunately he had more problems the day after the game last week.
“It means he will be out and I don’t expect him back before the international break, so some weeks out.”
The squad has been boosted by the return of striker Alfredo Morelos. The Colombian has been sidelined by Van Bronckhorst for “attitude and fitness” reasons since the 2-2 draw with Hibs when the player was sent off.
After discussions between player and manager, the prolific forward will now return to the fold and is ready to play a part in the derby.
“Alfredo is in the squad for tomorrow,” Van Bronckhorst said. “I had good talks with him last Sunday so I think he understood the message. And he also worked hard to be back and to help the team.
“He’s still a quality player with a lot of threat in front of goal. His training this week has been very positive so he will be included in the squad for tomorrow.
“You want players in your squad who can change games. I think Alfredo is definitely a player who can do that.
“For me that gives me another option up front. I’m happy for all of us that he’s back and he looks really positive. Now it’s up to him to make sure that he maintains it and also contributes when he’s on the pitch.”
Rangers travel across the city for the match sitting two points behind Celtic in the table and looking for a statement win in what’s expected to be a tight title race. The manager is expecting a close game but one that his side can take three points from.
“Of course I’m very excited about tomorrow,” he said. “It’s a big game, the first Old Firm of the season, away.
“We are ready for the task, we’ve trained well. It’s a very difficult ground to go to but we have everything to play for and we are ready for the challenge we will face.
“The stakes are always high in an Old Firm so early in the season. We go out tomorrow to go all in and to win the game. We’ll work really hard for it, that’s obvious.
“If you see all the games we played last season they were all very close apart from the game in January. I think the performance we had then wasn’t at the level we needed to compete with Celtic. The second half was much better.
“The margin is very close and it will be the same tomorrow. When you have games that are so close then they are decided by details and we have to make sure that the details that make the difference will be on our side.”