Rangers are reportedly set to apply to the Nigerian FA to allow three key first-team stars to be available for the Old Firm clash with Celtic on January 2nd ahead of AFCON 2022.

The Ibrox side are set to travel to Celtic Park to face off against their age-old rivals but Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey are all set to be part of the Super Eagles’ African Cup of Nations squad.

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Nigeria stars Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo are important parts of the Super Eagles’ side. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

But whilst the Gers will be willing their Nigerian stars to victory, according to the Daily Record Ibrox chiefs are applying for special dispensation to allow their three players to join the squad late.

According to that report, Rangers are confident of striking a deal with the Nigerian FA to allow their players to join up later than the December 27th date given by FIFA.

The tournament – which is this year based in Cameroon – is set to take place between the 9th of January and the 6th of February.

The Ibrox side are being tipped to strike deals with the Nigerian FA which will be similar to Premier League clubs, who will likely look to retain key stars until the latest possible moment amid a hectic winter schedule.

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Rangers are set to play Celtic in the crunch Scottish Premiership fixture a week before the tournament kicks off with the African Ibrox trio hotly tipped to make the squad.

Rangers AFCON stars could miss five matches

The impact of the tournament on Rangers is also set to be limited by the Winter Break but will see up to five matches being impacted by AFCON2022 if the Super Eagles go deep into the competition.

Rangers are set to play in the Scottish Cup fourth round on January 22nd, whilst Premiership matches against Livingston, Ross County and Hearts take place during the tournament.

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Rangers’ AFCON heroes could miss up to five matches due to the tournament. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images,)

Should Nigeria go all the way, then it is also unlikely those players would be involved in the Scottish Premiership clash against Hibs at Ibrox on February 9th.

Fans worrying about Zambian striker Fashion Sakala also being called up for AFCON duty should also note that the central African nation did not qualify for the tournament.

Speaking of Rangers’ Nigerian stars, read more about how fans have taken to one in particular this season for his committed and full-bloodied performances.

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