Glasgow Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo faces a race against time to be fit for the Old Firm Derby, reports say. Steven Gerrard had already ruled him out for at least four weeks this season and Rangers have been dealt another possible devastating blow ahead of their game against Celtic with doubts over Borna Barisic’s fitness.
Barisic was noticeably absent from Croatia’s squad that faced Sweden in the Nations League. He sustained a knock in the 2-0 win over Ross County but was called up by his country for the games against Switzerland, Sweden and France.
Whilst he missed the opportunity to face his teammate Cedric Itten in the international friendly against Switzerland, fans would have been forgiven for expecting him to play against Sweden on Sunday, but he wasn’t even named on the bench and Gerrard faces a nervous wait for any injury updates before his side travel to Celtic Park.
Gerrard’s second-in-command Gary McAllister had insisted there was nothing to worry about, saying “Borna took a blow just below his shin pad but it’s nothing serious – just some stud marks.” But it would be a “huge blow” according to former Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan if Barisic misses the trip to Celtic.
After arriving at Ibrox from Osijek on a four-year deal, the 27-year-old Croatian defender has become a firm fan favourite amongst the Rangers faithful. Per SofaScore, he played 22 games in the Scottish Premiership last season, scoring two goals, whilst he managed to play 59 minutes against Dundee United earlier this season, and registered one interception and two clearances, as well as creating three key passes, which shows he is a useful asset in all areas of the pitch.
Whilst Calvin Bassey has shown he can deputise for Barisic, the timing couldn’t be much worse for Steven Gerrard’s side, who will be hoping they can open a healthy lead over their arch-rivals at the weekend. Whether or not Aribo or Barisic will be fit in time remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure, it will be a big setback for the Ibrox outfit if they are ruled out of the game.
AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers have uncovered hidden gem in Leon Balogun…