Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has explained Croatian international Borna Barisic’s absence from the side that faced Aberdeen last night, confirming the defender had taken a few kicks recently and was being given a chance to recover.

Barisic has really found his stride at Ibrox this season but was replaced by Jon Flanagan for the Pittodrie clash with a Scottish League Cup final clash looming on Sunday.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Borna Barisic of Rangers FC is tackled by Danilo of Porto during the UEFA Europa League group G match between Rangers FC and FC Porto at Ibrox Stadium on November 07, 2019 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Gerrard admitted that the Aberdeen games was a “little bit too far” for Barisic and decided to give the left-back a few days rest ahead of the Old Firm final.

“He’s had a couple of kicks to the same area of his foot and had a couple of jabs during play lately,” Gerrard told Sky Sports Football. (4/12 19:30).

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“Maybe this one was a little bit too far for him so we thought we’d give him a few days to try let that calm down.”

After a tough debut season in Scotland, Barisic looks to have really turned a corner and had made the left-back berth his own in recent months.

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ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 28: Lutsharel Geertruida of Feyenoord looks on as Borna Barisic of Rangers FC controls the ball during the UEFA Europa League group G match between Feyenoord and Rangers FC at De Kuip on November 28, 2019 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Croatian adds an extra attacking dimension for Gerrard’s side that the likes of Flanagan and Andy Halliday don’t have and would be a massive miss in the final.

Hopefully, a few days rest should see Barisic fit for Hampden and give the Croatian the chance to cap his – and Rangers’ – remarkable turnaround by getting his hands on some silverware.

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