Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Shock inclusions and exclusions - a who's who of Rangers' travel party

As we all know, the Famous left Glasgow today for Spain, to prepare for tomorrow night’s Europa League opener with La Liga giants Villarreal.

Ibrox Noise takes you through a full rundown of the squad that left for mainland Europe and those who stayed behind.

Obviously, there was no place for Jordan Rossiter on the flight. Not selected at all for the Europa group stage, Rossiter continues to work on his fitness, but his absence from yesterday’s reserve squad v Dundee United was deeply worrying and despite his presence at training, Rossiter doesn’t seem to be gaining enough fitness to even make the bench in a reserve match. Worrying.

Secondly, Lee Wallace naturally stayed behind too. He did play in aforementioned St Andrews clash, but wasn’t included in the UEL squad for the group stage, period, so he will continue to be available for SPL matches and reserve fixtures.

Alfredo Morelos did travel but is unavailable through suspension, the second yellow then red he received in Russia ruling him out of this one. We’ve known this for some time, albeit there was some ambiguity over whether or not a loophole might spare him. It didn’t.

The same applies to Jon Flanagan. Benched v Dundee, he is banned for tomorrow’s opener, and we understand he stayed at home as well for today’s flight.

Mali powerhouse Lassana Coulibaly’s return to fitness continues unabashed and following a fine display v Dundee, he was on the flight and is set to start in Spain too.

Graham Dorrans is unlikely to feature, but surprisingly did travel with the group – after all, he has been included in the registered squad list so may as well make use of him.

Ovie Ejaria, however, did not travel. Suffering a hip issue, the playmaker was unavailable on Saturday and misses out on the European clash completely.

As does Ryan Jack – a major doubt already for the curtain-raiser, Jack is still to recover from the calf injury he picked up with Scotland and Thursday came too soon.

Last but not least, new signing Gareth McAuley came back injured from the break as well, and remains unfit and unavailable.

So a mixed bag of available and unavailables.

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