Premier League side Aston Villa have confirmed that former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the Boxing Day fixtures.
But similarly to the first Old Firm clash of the season between Rangers and Celtic, Gerrard will watch Villa’s festive fixture against Chelsea whilst self-isolating.
The former Liverpool midfielder will also miss Aston Villa’s Premier League clash with Leeds United in two day’s time.
“Aston Villa can confirm Head Coach Steven Gerrard will be unable to attend our next two Premier League matches with Chelsea and Leeds United as he will be isolating after testing positive for COVID-19,” reads a Villa statement.
Steven Gerrard Aston Villa Covid-19 call-off has shades of Rangers win over Celtic
Rangers were rocked by a Covid-19 outbreak in late August which seen a total of nine players and staff – including Steven Gerrard – forced into self-isolation ahead of a crunch Europa League playoff and the first Old Firm of the season.
Ahead of the games, Rangers were decidedly tight-lipped on who had been affected with a threadbare squad and coaching staff eventually flying out to Armenia without Steven Gerrard.
But the games would continue then as despite Ryan Kent failing to make the travelling party to face Alashkert, the pacey winger did make the starting XI against our fiercest rivals.
Rangers would then go on to defeat Celtic 1-0 at Ibrox without Steven Gerrard or Michael Beale on the sidelines and without the likes of Allan McGregor, James Tavernier or even back-up keeper Jon McLaughlin.
Compare and contrast this with Celtic’s very public eagerness to see the winter break brought forward amid a spate of injuries and Covid-19 fears and despite a risk of fixture congestion.
Rangers gritted their teeth, charged on without Steven Gerrard and won the game whilst Celtic will now see the match rearranged until February 2nd with Rangers potentially having a host of key players out.
These things do however have a habit of backfiring and whilst some players could miss the clash, the hero on that day against Celtic may well be back for Rangers.