Danny Mills has tipped Nathan Patterson to keep his place in the Rangers starting XI against Celtic even if James Tavernier is passed fit to play.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and England defender suggested there is no reason to drop Patterson and he should be rewarded for his recent performances.
Patterson has enjoyed his longest run in the Rangers team after Tavernier suffered a knee injury in the opening stages of their Europa League Round of 32 first leg in February.
Steven Gerrard revealed in his pre-Celtic press conference that there is a real chance he could welcome back his captain for Sunday’s clash.
The 29-year-old has been a standout performer for the Light Blues this term and recorded a season-high 12 interceptions in his last Scottish Premiership game, according to Wyscout.
“It’s an Old Firm derby which he [Gerrard] will be very, very keen to win,” Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
“But I think he’ll leave the youngster in. He’s given him an opportunity up until now.
“Obviously Tavernier is club captain but he might just say to him ‘This young lad is doing well. Reward him. Why shouldn’t he be in the team?’
“There’s a good chance he’ll stick with the youngster.”
Patterson, 19, has played 12 games across all competitions and started at Parkhead when the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the league last month.
Tavernier started the other two fixtures between the teams earlier on in the campaign and provided an assist in Rangers’ 2-0 win back in October.