The three Rangers players who are 'big doubts' for Celtic final and how Michael Beale plans to cope

Michael Beale admitted the injured players who missed Rangers’ 3-0 victory over Livingston may not return in time for next weekend’s Viaplay Cup Final.

Malik Tillman, Ryan Jack and John Lundstram were all absent as two goals from James Tavernier and a third from Kemar Roofe maintained the nine-point gap to Celtic at the top of the Premiership table. Rangers have a full week now to prepare for the Old Firm derby at Hampden Park and Beale hoped the extended rest would give some of the walking wounded time to heal. Should they fail to do so, however, the manager insisted he would have no qualms about again turning to Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin who both started in the middle of the park.

“They are big doubts because they were not available today," he said. “Malik has a problem with his hamstring, Jacko has a problem with his calf and John with his ankle. I’m optimistic they will return to training at the back end of the week alongside Scott Arfield. But it will be touch and go. What we had today might be what we have and I was delighted with what we got today from the players.

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“I have had to take a few deep breaths when other players have gone down injured this week. But you have to trust your next group of players. Everything I needed to see today I saw.”

Rangers’ first goal came from a penalty after VAR decided that James Penrice had pulled back Alfredo Morelos by the shirt.

Livingston manager David Martindale, however, wasn't convinced by the award. “I don’t think it’s a penalty, I think it’s very soft,” he said.

“I’m going to concede he had his jersey but I don’t think he pulled it. I don’t think there was any force in it. The momentum of Morelos’ body shape didn’t change. I think it was very harsh. There would have been 20 odd penalties being given for someone holding the opposition player’s shirt. It happens to Joel Nouble every day of the week and we don’t seem to get free-kicks or penalties.”



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