Rival defender pictured on crutches just 7 days before Celtic clash

By David Walton

April 10, 2022

Rangers centre-back Filip Helander has been pictured on crutches ahead of their Scottish Cup semi-final clash against Celtic next week.

Helander had to be helped off the pitch during the Ibrox club’s 4-0 win over St Mirren today. Midfielder John Lundstram also came off in the first 45 appearing to be feeling some discomfort in his groin.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said after the match that Helander was away for a scan whilst Lundstram would be assessed [Sky Sports]. However, an image has emerged on social media of the former in crutches just a week from their game against the Hoops at Hampden:

Helander played in the first Glasgow derby of the season at Ibrox. He scored the only goal in a 1-0 defeat for the Hoops, and he could’ve come into contention for next week’s game at Hampden after only recently recovering from injury.

It leaves Rangers fairly limited at centre-back ahead of what will be a tiring week for them. The likelihood is that the duo of Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun – who flopped in last weekend’s derby match – will be the pairing next weekend.

Rangers will face Braga in a do-or-die Europa League quarter-final second leg on Thursday night too. Again, they’ll likely have to go with Goldson and Helander with van Bronckhorst not having any real options to rotate his defence.

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Rangers suffering from injury and fatigue issues ahead of Celtic Hampden clash

The Ibrox club, for once, aren’t having it their own way when it comes to injury issues this season. Already, it’s been confirmed that Alfredo Morelos and Ianis Hagi will miss next weekend’s clash. Adding both Helander and Lundstram into the mix would certainly be a blow for them.

It’s not too simplistic to say that Celtic should have the Hampden advantage. Outside of Giorgos Giakoumakis, all of our top stars look to be available. With James Forrest back available for Sunday, it only adds to our options further.

In addition to that, Rangers are bound to be fatigued. After today’s win in Paisley, they’re going to have to lay it all on the line to overcome Braga. And it’s a game that’s seen as pivotal to their season given how things are looking for them in the league. They can’t afford to rest anyone for Sunday.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Rangers simply won’t arrive at Hampden 100% ready for the game. They can’t be with the schedule they have. So yes, the pressure is on Celtic to make that show come kickoff next week. That’s the challenge that lies ahead of our stars and we know they’re capable of pulling it off.

Of course, it remains to be seen if their 2 injuries picked up today are serious. But even if they aren’t, Celtic will still rightly be confident of putting them to the sword at Hampden.

Given recent injury blows for the Ibrox club, however, it looks as though their season is finally catching up with them. How foolish their January activity looks now.

In other news, Video: A joy to watch as class fan footage captures Ange’s Celtic in full flow