Rangers skipper Wallace sidelined for big derby battles
Rangers' hopes of halting Celtic's treble push have been dealt a major blow with captain Lee Wallace ruled out of this month's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.
And a defensive injury crisis will see youngsters David Bates and Myles Beerman handed their first-team debuts when Rangers visit Kilmarnock tonight.
Wallace has undergone surgery on the abdominal problem he picked up playing in Scotland's friendly against Canada last month.
The injury could also see the left-back miss the second leg of this month's double-header against Celtic, with the Premiership clash taking place at Ibrox six days after the April 23 cup showdown at Hampden.
Boss Pedro Caixinha, however, remains optimistic.
"Lee Wallace should be finishing his surgery right now so maybe for the next three to four weeks he will be out of the team," he said.
"His problem is in the stomach area but he can still celebrate with us at the end of the season, which means I hope to have him back for further on than the semi-final."
As well as Wallace, the Portuguese coach is missing centre-backs Clint Hill, Philippe Senderos and Rob Kiernan as well as full-back Lee Hodson.
And Caixinha surprised reporters by taking the unusual step of naming his starting line-up to face Killie in his first away game in charge 36 hours before kick-off.
"It is not important which players are out and which players are in," he added.
"It's important the players we have starting the game we trust and believe in. After all, we're Rangers."
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership:
Rugby Park, Tonight, 7.45pm