Rangers star Joe Aribo was left out as Nigeria won their final group game of the Africa Cup of Nations – but only to ensure he didn’t pick up a suspension for the next round.
The Gers midfielder, 25, is a key player for the Super Eagles and has impressed so far at the Cameroon-based tournament.
But the Ibrox star was rested completely from the squad as Nigeria downed Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to make it three wins from three and progress to the last 16 of the tournament.
Another familiar face to Rangers fans did take centre-stage at the tournament however, as Ibrox flop Umar Sadiq opened the scoring for Nigeria before William Troost-Ekong rounded off their group stage.
Booked against Sudan, Joe Aribo and teammate Ola Aina were left out to ensure they didn’t pick up another booking and miss the first knockout round given Nigeria had already qualifiers.
Joe Aribo an AFCON Nigeria star but Rangers cursing key player absence
One of the favourites to lift the trophy in Yaoundé on February 7th, Nigeria have pinned plenty of their hopes on Joe Aribo and that speaks volumes about the talent of the Rangers star.
But the Gers support are already counting the cost of losing the talented Ibrox star for the tournament after Rangers stumbled to a 1-1 draw against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Rangers fans best get used to being without the midfielder too as Nigeria continue to impress in Cameroon with a promising route to the semi-finals if results go their way.
Nigeria will play the 3rd place team from Group E or F and if they can get through that, they will be favourites for the quarter final clash against either Burkina Faso or Gabon.
It means the midfielder is likely to miss that crunch Celtic Park trip on February 2nd and Rangers fans will be begrudgingly wishing their star man well over the next few weeks.
Nigeria star Joe Aribo isn’t the only one who’s likely to miss the Old Firm clash in February after a key Rangers star was called up international duties.