Celtic could be handed a boost ahead of our trip to Ibrox on Sunday with the news that Ryan Jack is seemingly in a race against time to be fit.
The Rangers midfielder has been ruled out of this Thursday night’s Europa League game against Bayer Leverkusen, while striker Jermain Defoe will definitely miss both matches.
Gers boss Steven Gerrard gave an update ahead of the game against the German giants, which comes just two and a half days before the big derby.
“Ryan Jack won’t make it,” Gerrard told the Glasgow Times of the Leverkusen clash.
“Defoe will be out for a couple of weeks with a calf problem.
“Tavernier didn’t train today with a foot problem but will give him until the last minute to make it.”
Celtic can benefit if Jack plays or not
So an experienced player like Defoe is certain to miss the derby, while there are real fitness doubts over both Jack and Tavernier.
Even if the Rangers midfielder does manage to get fit in time for Sunday, he will be going into the game cold after not featuring in a couple of weeks.
That could be a recipe for disaster against a sturdy Celtic midfield like Scott Brown and Callum McGregor.
As is always the case with these games, winning the midfield battle is going to be crucial.
We have come off second best in that area during our last two meetings. Putting that right this time is of paramount importance.
It will be interesting to see if Gerrard decides to trust Jack if he is not fully fit.
The former Aberdeen man is a big player for Rangers, but not being fully fit in a game of this magnitude can come back to bite you.
And you can be sure, that if he does feature, he’ll be getting a tasty challenge from one of our men in the first few minutes.