Rangers coaches are planning to unleash Ryan Kent and exploit what they feel is Celtic’s weakest link – the right-back position – in the Scottish League Cup final.
The £7.5million summer signing is starting to rediscover his best form after a season hampered by injury and his protracted transfer from Liverpool.
Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that the club’s coaching staff are working towards ensuring Kent is in peak condition to “destroy” Neil Lennon’s selection on the right side of defence in the mouthwatering clash on Sunday week.
Celtic will be without their first choice right-back, Hatem Abd Elhamed, who is sidelined with a long-term groin injury, and are set to choose between experienced loanee Moritz Bauer and teenage sensation Jeremie Frimpong.
Both defenders joined in the summer and Rangers believe dangerman Kent can have a lot of joy running at them and attempting to manoeuvre one-on-one situations.
Bauer has had a mixed start to his Hoops career since joining on loan from Stoke City, while 18-year-old Frimpong has brought great attacking zest to the right flank but has not been defensively tested too often.
Kent, who ended his debut Ibrox campaign with the Scottish Young Player of the Year award, would provide a different proposition to other wide men the pair have faced this season.
Rangers have two other matches before they face Celtic at Hampden, SPL fixtures against Hearts tomorrow and Aberdeen next Wednesday.
There is the possibility that Kent’s game time may be managed by Steven Gerrard and his staff in those games to ensure he is fit and ready to fire in the biggest match of the season to date.