Rangers face anxious fitness wait on two defenders ahead of Old Firm game

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha will assess the fitness of Bruno Alves and Declan John in the lead up to the Old Firm game

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha faces an anxious wait to see if Bruno Alves and Declan John will be fit for Saturday's Old Firm game.

The two defenders were withdrawn during the 3-1 Scottish League Cup quarter-final win over Partick Thistle, and both were treated on the touchline at Firhill.

"We were forced to make the two changes," Caixinha told Rangers TV.

"We need to wait 24 hours, 48 hours, to see what's going on."

Caixinha went into the cup tie without the injured Lee Wallace, who is already ruled out of Saturday's meeting with Celtic at Ibrox. Danny Wilson, the third-choice centre-back, was also not involved in the squad for the cup tie at Firhill.

With the game against Partick Thistle taken into extra time by Kris Doolan's 90th-minute equaliser, Caixinha will also alter the training sessions ahead of the Old Firm game to ensure his players recover.

Rangers defender Bruno Alves
Rangers defender Bruno Alves was withdrawn during the second half against Partick Thistle

Midfielder Ryan Jack had to be treated for cramp during the second period of extra time, and Caixinha praised his players for being able to "run, and run, and run".

"We know that we have a game on Saturday, tomorrow was already a day off on the plan," the Rangers manager said.

"Because of extra time we need more time on recovery, it's a case of managing the content of the training sessions. We know the direction we want for Saturday's match.

"But I'm very pleased with the hard work of the boys."

Rangers opened the scoring in the second half through midfielder Carlos Pena - who was making his first start and whose appearance prompted a switch to a 4-3-3- formation.

Alfredo Morelos and Daniel Candeias both missed chances when clear through on goal, then Thistle capitalised on the injuries to Alves and John disrupting Rangers' solidity at the back.

Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies and scout John McGlynn
Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies and scout John McGlynn watched Rangers against Partick Thistle

Caixinha was pleased, though, with the way his team responded, scoring twice in the first period of extra-time through Daniel Candeias and Eduardo Herrera to take command of the game.

"Conceding the equaliser at the end is not easy, especially after you have a lot of chances to kill the game, to have a calm game," Caixinha added.

"We were punished for that and we were punished because of ourselves, because we could not control and could not score the clear situations we had. The one from Daniel was quite clear. That's what happens.

"The team is always working hard to get the second goal and get the levels of confidence to bring the qualities the players really have. The two goals difference makes that.

"The two players who came on, Lee Hodson did a very good job but for me Ross [McCrorie, making his debut at 19] is going to be the future of this country, not only this club, as a centre-half.

"We are very glad to have him with us. We always knew what he was capable of, he's a humble guy, a hard worker and he'll keep doing his job."

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