Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has all but confirmed that inexperienced defender Jack Simpson will start the match against Celtic in the final Old Firm derby of the season.
Simpson, 24, has had minimal exposure to the first team since joining the club from Bournemouth in January and will be forced into the starting XI due to injuries to two key first-team players.
🎙️ PRESS CONFERENCE: Steven Gerrard spoke to the media ahead of Sunday's Old Firm match at Ibrox. pic.twitter.com/WVab37pj1K
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 30, 2021
Nigerian international defender Leon Balogun is carrying an Achilles/calf knock whilst Gerrard also revealed that Swedish defender Filip Helander will be out for the remainder of the season.
That means 4th choice Simpson is the club’s only remaining fit first-team centre-back alongside the ever-present Connor Goldson and Gerrard confirmed he’s set to be pitched in this afternoon.
“We won’t have Fil Helander, probably for the remainder of the season,” said Gerrard [Rangers].
“The same goes for Scott Arfield, so we’re a little bit light at centre-back and in midfield.
“Scott’s injury is in the ankle area and Fil’s is in the knee area. In terms of what the doctor’s diagnosis on them is, I’m still waiting for certain information and scan results.
“But I think Fil has got a good chance (of making the Euros).
When asked if Simspons will start, Gerrard joked “unless I’m going to play centre-back myself, which is unlikely” [BT Sport].
Simpson has made only one start since moving to Ibrox and was heavily involved in the 1-1 draw with St Johnstone in Perth last week.
It was a bit of a rude awakening to the frenetic nature of Scottish football as the player gave away a last-minute penalty to see the club drop two points.
The defender was also spotted in training ahead of the match as the club looks to continue their unbeaten form this season and their unbeaten run against Celtic.