Steven Gerrard has suffered a huge injury blow ahead of Rangers’ final game of the season against Aberdeen on Saturday, with Borna Barisic seemingly ruled out of the Ibrox fixture after it was previously hoped that he would be fit.
However, Gerrard admitted in his pre-match conference that Barisic is now unlikely to feature, which suggests that Joe Aribo will continue to deputise at left-back.
Whilst the former Charlton Athletic man did a stellar job filling in there against Livingston in midweek in the absence of both Barisic and Calvin Bassey, who is suspended, it is not an ideal situation for Gerrard to have to deal with on the final day.
If Rangers avoid defeat against Stephen Glass’ side, then they will finish on at least 100 points and secure invincible league status, so there is plenty on the line for the Gers ahead of the final day.
The 40-year-old manager would have been desperate to have the “magic” Barisic back, therefore, as the left-back has been one of the key performers in his side so far this season.
In 30 Premiership appearances, the 28-year-old has contributed one goal and five assists, averaging a superb 7.35 average rating from WhoScored.
This ranks him as the fifth-best performer in Gerrard’s side this season, which emphasises just how important he has become at Ibrox, so they will definitely miss him on Saturday afternoon.
No player in Rangers’ side has played more key passes (2.2) per game than Barisic this season, which suggests that they could well lack a creative edge without him, although playing the attack-minded Aribo in his position on Wednesday did the trick for Gerrard’s side.
Hopefully the Nigerian international isn’t exposed from a defensive point of view and Rangers are able to get the job done without the influential Barisic, to allow them to end a fantastic domestic campaign unbeaten.