Rangers have been struck with an injury blow ahead of this weekend’s Glasgow Derby with Celtic, as Leon Balogun will miss out.
Balogun started the last derby match at Celtic Park in our recent 1-1 draw. However, Steven Gerrard was forced to take him off at half-time after being rinsed consistently by Diego Laxalt.
Celtic’s goal in that one came from Balogun’s side when Odsonne Edouard’s cross was powered home by Mohamed Elyounoussi. However, with Nathan Patterson available for Rangers, Balogun could easily have been a contender to start at centre-back.
As quoted by Glasgow Live, Gerrard has confirmed the Nigerian international’s injury issues:
“Unfortunately, Leon is going to be out. He felt a calf/Achilles area yesterday morning and left the training session. Until we get the scan result we won’t be able to know the outcome of that. But he’s limping about, which tells you he has obviously little chance of making next weekend.”
Celtic will fancy getting at Rangers backline – with or without Leon Balogun
Balogun has featured 28 times for Rangers and has played in two of the three derby matches this season [Transfermarkt]. However, it’s likely that Gerrard will go with a different centre-back pairing for this weekend’s Scottish Cup clash.
Connor Goldson and Filip Helander look set to play together after starting the vast majority of Rangers’ recent matches together. The duo struggled badly in trying to cope with Edouard in the last derby match, with only the Frenchman’s profligacy letting him down.
Celtic managed to open up the Ibrox defence on several occasions in the previous meeting. Therefore, as they continue to struggle with their defensive options, there’s no reason to think we can’t do the same this Sunday.
Rangers will of course be stubborn to break down. We can’t simply ignore the fact they’ve only conceded 11 goals in the league this season with only three of them coming at Ibrox. But they’ve conceded in two of their last three home matches. Considering we’re the only team domestically to have bossed them this term, we’re entitled to carry some confidence.
Balogun’s injury likely won’t be given a second thought by John Kennedy of course. He’ll only be looking at the players who are likely to start for Rangers and how we can get at them.
And going by previous experiences, we’ve certainly shown we can do just that.