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Rangers receive triple boost ahead of Europa League clash as trio passed fit

 

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Welcome return: Ryan Jack is back in the frame for Rangers

Welcome return: Ryan Jack is back in the frame for Rangers

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Welcome return: Ryan Jack is back in the frame for Rangers

Steven Gerrard has received a Europa League injury boost after passing key trio Ryan Jack, Lassana Coulibaly and Scott Arfield fit to face Maribor.

The Ibrox side head to Slovenia for tomorrow's game with a 3-1 first-leg lead as they look to secure a play-off slot.

And the chances of Gers completing the job have grown with the encouraging update Gerrard has received from the Light Blues' medical team.

Jack has recovered from the concussion he sustained on his return to former club Aberdeen last week.

The midfielder was taken to hospital after being laid low by Stevie May's crude barge, but the 26-year-old has now rejoined his team-mates - much to the delight of Gerrard, who has declared himself Jack's number one fan after admitting he was "jealous" of his composed display against Osijek in the previous round.

"Ryan is back in full training today so, assuming he gets through today and tomorrow, he will be available for selection," Gerrard said yesterday.

"It could be a huge boost because I think he is in great form and I think he has played a very important role for us so far.

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"I think when you are going away from home and you have a slight advantage you want to put people in your team that are going to help you get a positive result and Ryan comes into that bracket."

There was fresh concern on Sunday when Coulibaly went down clutching his thigh near the end of Rangers' 2-0 win over St Mirren.

But Gerrard says the combative midfield loanee from French side Angers is showing no lasting damage and will be fit to take his place in the line-up against the Slovenian outfit.

He added: "Lassana has recovered quite well and we don't think it is a big issue, we think it is more down to maybe fatigue.

"He has posted some very big numbers in the last couple of games, in terms of distances and high speed, so I think it is just his body letting him know that he might need a little bit of a break at some point.

"It is a big game and we will have to wait and see what he is like in the next 48 hours before we make a decision on him."

Arfield is also set to return to the Ibrox line-up after the 29-year-old sat out the weekend battle with the Buddies.

"Scott was just rested at the weekend," added Gerrard.

"He had two or three weeks out with his knee and then he came back and played two full games, one of them with 10 men against Aberdeen.

"He had a little bit of a small issue but nothing major. Thankfully we got a win and actually rested him which is good."

• Scottish Premiership leaders Hearts have been rocked by the loss of captain Christophe Berra for six months.

The defender tore his hamstring during Saturday's 1-0 victory over Celtic, in which Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty scored the winner.

"It's obviously a very big blow," manager Craig Levein said.

"I'm gutted for Christophe. He's really never been injured before and has played a number of years at the highest level, so it's really bad luck."

The 33-year-old has shown fine form since returning to his boyhood club after an eight-year stint in England with Wolves and Ipswich.

Hearts' Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes is a potential replacement.


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