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Rangers have quality to clinch Old Firm glory despite injury headaches, insists Ross McCrorie


Defiant tone: Ross McCrorie
Defiant tone: Ross McCrorie

By Andy Newport

Midfielder Ross McCrorie is confident the Rangers squad is good enough to put on a show against Celtic at Ibrox tomorrow despite a number of injury problems.

Centre-back Connor Goldson is rated a "big doubt" for tomorrow's Ibrox derby after limping off during the Boxing Day draw with Hibernian.

Another central defender, Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley, is facing a battle to be fit along with key attacking midfielders Ryan Kent and Scott Arfield, while left-back Borna Barisic is definitely out along with long-term absentees Graham Dorrans and Jamie Murphy.

Rangers have not beaten Celtic in the last 12 meetings between the sides but McCrorie was defiant after their late blow against Hibs.

McCrorie said: "The injuries aren't an excuse. We've got a good enough squad and good enough players here to go and put on a performance against Celtic, so we will just see what happens at the weekend.

"We're just going to play our own game and focus on ourselves. Obviously we'll do our analysis on Celtic but after that we'll see what happens."

Rangers have dropped points against Aberdeen and Hibs at home since first going top of the Ladbrokes Premiership, and manager Steven Gerrard admitted the derby was a "must-win" game regardless of the league table, which sees Brendan Rodgers' Celtic three points clear with a game in hand.

Gerrard said after the 1-1 Boxing Day draw with Hibs: "I've never, ever played in a derby that hasn't been must-win. If we were sitting above Celtic right now, I'd be saying it's must-win.

"So every game against Celtic is must-win. No one should really ever ask a Rangers manager if an Old Firm game is must-win because you are only going to get one answer."

And McCrorie added: "Every game is must-win. We're playing for Rangers and the pressure is always on. We need to win every time we pull on that blue jersey, especially if we're going to challenge for the title."

Rangers have now scored only two goals in their last four home games and their struggles in front of goal came back to bite them when Darren McGregor earned Hibs a 1-1 draw.

"We're very disappointed, especially with losing a goal in the last five minutes," McCrorie said.

"It just feels like we've shot ourselves in the foot after not taking our chances. We need to get that cutting edge back or we're going to have problems.

"We need to clean up the wee details if we're going to stop conceding these silly goals."

Belfast Telegraph


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