Steven Gerrard has suffered a significant injury blow at Rangers ahead of the Old Firm derby at Ibrox on Sunday, with Filip Helander ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The Sweden international was forced off in the cup defeat against St Johnstone last time out and Gerrard has now confirmed that the defender will miss the rest of the campaign through injury.
The 28-year-old has been a key fixture alongside Connor Goldson at the back for the Light Blues this season, so to have him missing for their most important remaining fixture is undoubtedly a blow for Gerrard.
It is awful timing too, as Leon Balogun is also currently sidelined through injury, whilst fellow defenders Calvin Bassey and Nathan Patterson are suspended, which suggests that the inexperienced Jack Simpson will start at centre-back on Sunday.
Rangers need to avoid defeat in their three remaining fixtures to finish the league season unbeaten and Sunday’s game against Celtic will certainly be a tough challenge for Gerrard’s side, as the Hoops will be desperate to ensure that their rivals don’t earn the honour of going invincible.
John Kennedy’s side will perhaps be a lot more confident now that Helander is missing, as the former Bologna man has been one of the most consistent performers for Rangers so far this season. Across 21 top-flight appearances, Helander has contributed one goal and averaged an impressive 7.11 WhoScored average match rating, which ranks him as Rangers’ seventh-best performer so far this season.
Considering that the centre-back has been linked with a move away ahead of the summer and reportedly wants a shot at playing in the Premier League, he may well have already played his last game for the club after being ruled out for the final three league matches.
Gerrard will perhaps be worried that, in the absence of two of his most experienced central defenders, Celtic could cause an upset and bring an end to Rangers’ unbeaten record, especially after two consecutive disappointing performances against St Johnstone.