Rivals suffer significant injury setback ahead of Celtic Park meeting

By Euan Davidson

January 25, 2022

Rangers have suffered a significant injury set-back in the build-up to a tantalising Celtic Park meeting on the 2nd of February, with Ianis Hagi out for the season.

Hagi, a Romania international, underwent reconstructive surgery on his knee yesterday. The surgery will rule the winger out of contention for the rest of the 21-22 season [BBC]. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Rangers manager, confirmed the injury today.

It’ll be a very different kind of Glasgow Derby for both Celtic and Rangers. Both teams will have players on international duty, most notably Daizen Maeda and Tom Rogic for Celtic. Injuries could also rule out star players like Callum McGregor, Kyogo Furuhashi and David Turnbull.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Now, on Rangers’ side, there’s a key man missing out. Hagi has had a decent enough season for Rangers, scoring 4 and setting up another 4 in 27 outings [Transfermarkt].

Filip Helander is also likely to miss out, having been sidelined since September.

It’ll be a game missing a glut of familiar faces. For Ange Postecoglou, it’s his first derby in the Celtic dugout at Paradise. For van Bronckhorst, his first as the Rangers manager, having competed in plenty during his playing days.

And neither the Celtic nor Rangers manager will have their ideal XI lining up.

McGregor blow, but O’Riley & Hatate may be about to star for Celtic | Jackie McNamara on 67HH

McGregor blow, but O’Riley & Hatate may be about to star for Celtic | Jackie McNamara on 67HH
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Rangers missing Ianis Hagi for Celtic Park is undoubtedly a blow to our rivals

It’ll be spun every which way, but this is a major loss for Rangers.

Hagi is one of the club’s brightest talents, and his absence makes the derby a harder job for van Bronckhorst. However, again, it’s not as if either club will have their “best” line-up out there, due to a range of different factors.

As the game gets ever closer, the next two league ties will be crucial for both Postecoglou and van Bronckhorst. There may be temptation from either manager to rest players ahead of the game, just in case. However, the margin for error at the top of the table is microscopic.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As far as Celtic are concerned, this doesn’t change the job of beating Rangers at all. It’s one less weapon in Rangers’ arsenal to worry about, certainly, but the task at hand is to impose the aggressive, high-energy style of Celtic on our fierce rivals in front of a packed Celtic Park.

Regardless of who lines up.

Still, for Rangers supporters, this will be a blow. But it’s just another sub-plot on the road to what ought to be a classic at Paradise on the 2nd of February.

Read more: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou delivers touching Wim Jansen tribute