Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

All not well for Rangers

Lee Wallace celebrates after Stephen Craigan's own goal puts Rangers 3-0 up against Motherwell at Ibrox yesterday

Rangers 3 Motherwell 0: Rangers manager Ally McCoist has revealed that Kyle Lafferty could be sidelined for up to five weeks, while top goalscorer Nikica Jelavic is also struggling with injury.

Jelavic missed yesterday's 3-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Motherwell with a groin problem and the Scottish champions suffered a further setback when Lafferty was carried off early on with a hamstring injury.

Goals from David Healy — making his first SPL start of the season — and Sone Aluko as well as an own-goal from Stephen Craigan sealed the victory but McCoist admits his dwindling numbers are a concern, with Kirk Broadfoot also sidelined..

He said: “Nikica didn't make it with a groin strain, he attempted to train yesterday and had a go this morning but he wasn't fit enough to play or be involved.

“The injury to Lafferty is a big, big blow for us. Make no mistake about it.

“I don't know the full extent of the injury but it looks like he has pulled his hamstring and my guess would be four or five weeks. Hopefully Nikica's is more short term.”

Jelavic has been the subject of intense speculation over his future and has been tipped for a switch to the Barclays Premier League.

But McCoist claims John Fleck — who came off the bench to replace Lafferty — is the only player to attract concrete interest from other clubs so far, although a loan move now appears unlikely to happen.

The Rangers boss said: “The only enquiries we have had are for John Fleck for loan, which would probably be put on the back-burner now.

“I'll look at the whole thing again tomorrow morning and reassess the injuries but I would have to say it would be doubtful he would be going anywhere.”

McCoist will now turn his thoughts to January transfer targets as he prepares to hold talks with owner Craig Whyte.

He said: “I'll sit down with Craig tonight or tomorrow and have a wee chat and see where we are.

“We look as though we need strengthening in forward areas. The injuries to Jelavic, Lafferty and long term to Steven Naismith certainly hasn't done anything to change my opinion.

“As happy as we were with the performance today, we know we need bodies in. At this moment, we've got one centre-forward.”

Former Rangers striker Nacho Novo, who now plays for Sporting Gijon in his native Spain, has been training with his old club over the festive period while back in Scotland.

Asked if he could be an option, McCoist said: “Nacho was back home for Christmas and new year and phoned us up and asked to come in and do a bit of training.

“We obviously welcomed him with open arms and the wee man looked great.

“He was the same wee Nacho that the Rangers supporters loved for many years here and he is a player that we know has been over the course and distance here.

“But, at this moment in time, I can't tell you anything other than he was looking good.

“I can't say we are interested and I can't rule out interest in any other player either.”

With so many injury problems to Rangers' attacking options, Motherwell boss Stuart McCall felt his side squandered a great opportunity at Ibrox.

He said: “It was hugely disappointing.

“It's probably the worst I've felt after a Rangers game and we've been beat heavier than this.”

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