Rangers boss Michael Beale has confirmed there are “big doubts” over the availability of three key midfielders for Sunday’s Viaplay Cup final as preparations get underway for the Hampden showpiece.
Malik Tillman, Ryan Jack and John Lundstram face a race against time to be passed fit to play against Glasgow derby rivals Celtic at the national stadium on Sunday with the first piece of silverware up for grabs this season.
Both managers will be hoping to have their strongest possible squad available to them, with the Ibrox club having to contend with an increased injury list in the lead up to the match after Light Blues boss Beale extended his unbeaten run to 14 matches, courtesy of a dominant 3-0 Premiership win over Livingston that keeps them nine points behind the reigning champions.
The midfeld trio, who have all been regular starters during Beale’s reign as manager, missed Saturday’s trip to West Lothian. Tillman, who has impressed since arriving on loan from Bayern Munich, is struggling with a hamstring problem, while Jack is nursing a calf injury and Lundstram has been absent in recent games due to an ankle knock.
Speaking post-match as he turned his attention towards the cup final, Beale admitted their absence would be a setback but the Englishman is content with his squad depth.
He said: “They are big doubts because they were not available today. I’m optimistic they will return to training at the back end of the week, with maybe Scott Arfield, but it will be touch and go.
“What you saw might be what we have and I was delighted with what we got from the players. I have had to take a few deep breaths when other players have gone down injured this week. But you have to trust your next group of players.
“Everything I needed to see I saw. We will now wrap the boys up as we have a full week to prepare for the cup final.”