Borna Barisic misses Croatia match ahead of Celtic-Rangers fixture

By David Walton

October 8, 2020

Rangers defender Borna Barisic was last night left out of the Croatia squad altogether just 10 days before his trip to Celtic Park.

Barisic had previously limped off during Rangers’ 2-0 win against Ross County at the weekend. Ibrox assistant manager Gary McAllister stated to the club’s official media channel the following:

“It’s just a blow, it was just below his shinpad. It’s nothing serious. It’s some studs mark below his shin pads. Everyone has come through okay and now we’re hoping everyone goes away on international duty and comes back healthy.”

Borna Barisic in action against Celtic / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

However, it quite clearly wasn’t nothing. Barisic was called up by Croatia for their games against Switzerland, Sweden, and France respectively. Yet he was nowhere to be seen in their 23-man squad in their 2-1 win over the Swiss last night (UEFA).

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Should he miss the game at Celtic Park next weekend, it could be that Rangers feature summer-signing Calvin Bassey in his position instead.

Barisic being injured would undoubtedly be a help

If we’re taking the tribalism out of things for a minute, let’s be totally honest. Barisic missing out for Rangers would be a big boost to Celtic.

The Hoops have looked better in recent times when defending from cross-balls. The arrival of Shane Duffy has most certainly helped in that regard. But Barisic’s pinpoint deliveries have been key for Rangers this season, and he would be one of their go-to players at Parkhead.

Barisic also managed an assist in the last derby match too – crossing for Ryan Kent’s goal back in December 2019. So if he was to sit out, let’s not pretend that wouldn’t be a big loss for them.

Celtic Park is the venue for the first Glasgow derby of the season / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Croatia’s game against Switzerland was only a friendly last night too. It could be the case that they aren’t looking to aggravate anything, or perhaps Rangers requested him to be left out of any fixtures that aren’t key.

Yet you have to wonder why that would be necessary if everything was as dandy as McAllister made out over the weekend. So we’ll keep an eye on what happens here.

With Celtic looking like missing some of their big hitters for the game next weekend, there’ll be no sympathy from us if Rangers also have a key man or two out.

In other news, Neil Lennon has been backed to make a bold decision for next week’s derby.