Alan Hutton has admitted he would be “shocked” if James Tavernier returned to the Rangers starting XI against Celtic this weekend.
The former Gers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted there was no need to rush the 29-year-old back after Nathan Patterson’s “brilliant’ performances.
As quoted by Glasgow Live, Steven Gerrard confirmed Tavernier is “pushing hard” to be involved against the Bhoys after his lengthy injury absence.
The 29-year-old has been out with a knee injury since February, with Patterson, 19, deputising in his absence.
Gerrard insisted he would not force Tavernier back into the side despite his importance to the side.
As such, Hutton admitted he would be stunned if Patterson was dropped for the Scottish Cup tie.
“It would be a massive shock, I think, if Tavernier was thrown in to that game,” Hutton told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.
“I mean, he’s been out for a long time. I’ve had that knee injury, you have to take steps to come back. Whether it be playing behind a closed doors game or whatever.
“We’ve only got six or so games, depending on the cup. So four league games and then how far in the cup you go. The way I look at it is the Scottish Cup is the priority. There’s an opportunity to bring Tavernier back in at the back end of the league games.
“I think it would be silly to rush him back for one game. I think Nathan Patterson has been excellent. He has come in, stood up to the challenge and he’s been brilliant.
“We know how much Tavernier means to this Rangers team and what he gives going forward. However, I don’t see Steven Gerrard rushing him back just for this one game.”