Confirmed: Rivals suffer fresh injury blow ahead of Celtic clash
Rangers centre-back Filip Helander has now been confirmed as out for Sunday and the rest of the season for our Ibrox foes.
The Swedish defender looked primed to face Celtic in this weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden. However, he picked up an injury against St Mirren at the weekend and needed to be escorted off the pitch.
And now, Giovanni van Bronckhorst has confirmed that his injury will leave him out for the rest of the campaign. It comes after they suffered a similar blow last week when it was confirmed Alfredo Morelos would also miss the rest of the season.
It’s yet another blow for our rivals who are suffering from low morale after defeats to Celtic and Braga in recent times.
As quoted by the Scotsman, van Bronckhorst said: “Filip’s injury is not good, we won’t have him for the remainder of the season.”
Rangers face Braga tomorrow night in the Europa League before the crunch semi with Celtic at the national stadium less than 72 hours later.
Rangers all at sea as Celtic look to take advantage
So what does this mean for Sunday? Well it throws the idea of Rangers being able to change up their centre-back pairing for a start. Helander, who scored the winner in the first derby of the season, could’ve come in and partnered Connor Goldson at the weekend.
Instead, it’ll likely be Leon Balogun who starts for our rivals. And it’ll likely mean that they won’t have much time to rest either beforehand.
The partnership of Balogun and Goldson was exploited on several occasions by Daizen Maeda at Ibrox. It’s not a backline that likes playing against quick centre-forwards. That could be extremely profitable for the likes of Maeda and Kyogo this weekend.
Of course, Celtic would’ve fancied their chances had Helander been fit. But even so, it’s another blow for our rivals who are starting to see their luck with injuries run out.
Celtic, meanwhile, are still sweating on the fitness of David Turnbull and Giorgos Giakoumakis. Ange will be hoping both will be good to go at Hampden come kickoff.
In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to see how Rangers get on tomorrow. Another defeat and the pressure will ramp up on them big time.