Rangers’ opponents Celtic have reportedly been dealt a major blow just hours prior to Saturday’s Old Firm clash, with Ryan Christie ruled out of the match, according to the Daily Record.
Christie and Arsenal star Kieran Tierney were told to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from 6 October after Scotland teammate and close contact Stuart Armstrong returned a positive test whilst on international duty.
Yet, Neil Lennon said on Friday afternoon that he still hoped there was a chance the midfielder would be allowed to return to the Celtic squad for the Old Firm after recently returning two negative tests [Herald].
However, even though Arsenal appear to have succeeded with their bid to get Tierney available to face Manchester City on Saturday afternoon [The Guardian], the Record claimed on Friday night, less than 24 hours before kick-off, that no such treatment has been afforded to Christie, with the Scottish government refusing to make an exception.
It’s a blow for the Hoops, who are already missing Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton after the two players returned positive tests whilst on international duty.
Odsonne Edouard is available after observing an isolation period of his own, though, while Albian Ajeti is fit to play following a muscle injury.
Celtic aren’t the only side with availability issues heading into the derby, though.
Steven Gerrard all but ruled out key Rangers players Joe Aribo and Kemar Roofe on Friday [Rangers FC Twitter], while Nikola Katic is a long-term absentee with a knee injury and new signing, Bongani Zungu, is in quarantine after arriving from France.
Neither side will be at full strength for the first Old Firm of 2020 but after months of waiting, Glasgow’s big two are primed to do battle once again.
Ahead of the game, check out our Old Firm Preview Video over on the Rangers News YouTube channel.