Star man reportedly out, Rangers can still upset odds by ending Celtic remarkable run
COMMENT By James Black
Rangers defender Bruno Alves is reportedly set to miss Saturday’s Old Firm clash with a calf injury but the Gers can still beat Celtic and end their 56-game unbeaten domestic run.
Alves’ injury was reported on Friday by insider The Establishment Consultancy Twitter account, which has broken a number of Rangers stories in recent months, who tweeted that the 19-year-old Ross McCrorie faced a “massive game” this weekend before confirming that Alves would miss out through injury.
McCrorie replaced Alves during Tuesday night’s 3-1 extra-time win over Partick Thistle as the 94-times capped Portugal defender limped off with a calf injury.
Under-20’s captain McCrorie played 50 minutes after replacing Alves for his first-team debut and impressed fans and pundits alike.
The young defender looked calm in possession and dealt with the threat of Partick’s forwards well, bringing a stability to the defence that had been lacking.
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It’s far from an ideal situation for Pedro Caixinha however McCrorie is a more than capable replacemement for Alves.
A stand-out in Graeme Murty’s Under-20 squad as they reached the final of the Scottish FA Youth Cup last season, McCrorie would likely have made the step-up last season instead of David Bates had he not been out on loan at Dumbarton.
Despite his inexperience, McCrorie’s introduction against Partick seemed to calm Fabio Cardoso down and the Portuguese defender actually looked better beside McCrorie than he had alongside Alves earlier in the match.
After Bates, Myles Beerman, Aidan Wilson and Jamie Barjonas all impressed after stepping into the first-team towards the end of last season, McCrorie is arguably the most highly-rated of them all.
McCrorie made 22 appearances for the Under-20’s last season and also played 9 times for Championship Dumbarton on loan as they avoided relegation.
In other Rangers news, a bizarre admission from Ibrox has played right into Celtic’s hands ahead of the Old Firm.