Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot will miss the start of the new season after being told he will be out of action for up to five months.
The 24-year-old has had an operation to shave away part of a bone and have three screws inserted in his foot after a visit to a specialist in London revealed his injury was worse than first feared.
He now faces six weeks in plaster before he starts his rehabilitation.
The news comes as a blow for both Rangers and Scotland, with Broadfoot also set to sit out crucial World Cup qualifiers for the national team.
He will also miss the opening rounds of the Ibrox side’s European campaign and has revealed that during the operation it was discovered that he had a rare problem that could have led to arthritis.
He said: "I have been told I will need to spend the next three months in plaster, then it will be another couple of months after that before I will be back training with the lads.
"It’s a real blow. It was bad enough missing the climax to the title race, but now I will be out for the start of next season.
“I’m absolutely gutted as I thought it was just bone bruising .
“When the specialist opened up my foot the bones were rubbing together and if it hadn’t been picked up I could have ended up with arthritis.
"I will miss some big domestic and Champions League games, as well as Scotland’s World Cup qualifiers. It’s a setback, but they say these things make you stronger."