Rangers have been hit with a huge double injury blow ahead of one of the most important weeks in the club’s season.
Striker Danilo may have to have surgery on a knee injury picked up against Hearts on Wednesday night, while midfielder Tom Lawrence is also out until at least the winter break with a muscle problem which saw him go off in the first half at Tynecastle.
Rangers host Dundee in the cinch Premiership on Saturday, and after their final Europa League group game against Real Betis in Spain on Thursday night – the Gers have a chance of making the knockout stages but Europa Conference League football is guaranteed – the Light Blues prepare for the Viaplay Cup final against Aberdeen at Hampden Park the following Sunday.
Kemar Roofe is not ready to play 90 minutes yet while Nico Raskin, Ryan Jack and Scott Wright are also missing with various ailments.
Gers boss Philippe Clement, who will go into the transfer marker in January to seek a replacement for Danilo, said: “Tom will be out for sure until the winter break and Danilo will also be out until that time so that is not so good.
“Danilo has a problem with his knee because of a bad tackle in the game, an unlucky situation, part of football. Because of contact he had a problem with his knee.
“The chances are he requires surgery so yes, it could be long term.
“It is a big blow for the players because they were really motivated, they were performing well and it is now time to focus on the guys who are fit because we have really important games now.”
Lawrence has been hampered with injuries since signing from Derby in 2022 while Danilo, signed from Feyenoord in the summer and who suffered a fractured cheekbone in September, has developed into the main central striker, scoring six goals this season.
With Roofe’s lack of match sharpness, fellow big-money signing Cyriel Dessers, who has struggled since arriving from Cremonese in the summer, will likely take over.
Clement said: “It is for them (Dessers and Roofe) to show that they are ready like it is for every player.
“What we know that Kemar is coming back from an injury and a history of a lot of consecutive injuries so we need to take that into account.
“There is no use throwing him on the pitch and he is also out.”
The Belgian has gone 11 games unbeaten since taking over as Gers boss from Michael Beale with the 1-0 win against the Jambos keeping them eight points behind leaders Celtic having played a game less.
Clement said: “I am happy in different ways.
“If I see where they were eight weeks ago, not too much a team on the pitch, from what I saw in moments in games and we could have more results than we have had.
“We are creating a lot of chances every game, good goals, several clean sheets in the league so the team is taking good steps and also, despite players being in and out, everybody understands what to do.
“It is a lot of work for the players to understand everything so I think the team is in a really good way to improve and become better.”
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