Another shock Rangers injury for Clement as Old Firm approaches

Another shock Rangers injury for Clement as Old Firm approaches
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 14: Philippe Clement, Manager of Rangers, looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between Rangers FC and SL Benfica at Ibrox Stadium on March 14, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rangers have been rocked with a shock injury to Turkish star Ridvan Yilmaz who picked up a reported hamstring issue on duty with his national team last night.

The former Besiktas man, 22, had to be withdrawn midway into the first half of his country’s friendly with Hungary, and it’s unclear the extent of this before proper assessment is made.

But the fact he had to go off on 27 minutes with injury is not a good sign, and reminds us very much of Dujon Sterling having to withdraw in Portugal v Benfica with an apparent hammie, before being unwisely risked v Hibernian which saw him taken off after 33 minutes.

What could this mean? Well, if we look at what his national boss, Italy’s Vincenzo Montella said on Ridvan’s chances of remaining with the squad:

“I will think about this issue. We need to evaluate the physical condition of our football players. I also have a plan in my mind for young people to gain experience in such matches. I will make my decisions after making a good evaluation.”

Lord knows what that means, but it’s not exactly positive, and is certainly vague at best.

Long story short, we should prepare for the worst, and sadly, this injury has come at a shocker of a time with the Old Firm so close – Rangers do NOT want to have to rely on Borna Barisic for the visit of Celtic with whose mind has been elsewhere for a long time.

That said, while Ibrox Noise offered how Ridvan has overtaken the Croat this season, the ex-Osijek man’s numbers are actually still fairly decent, even if his attitude probably isn’t – he is closing in on that post-season move to Trabzonspor.

But either way, we really want Ridvan to be fit and ready to face Celtic, because he’s the best we have in that slot.

This injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, but if there’s one thing Rangers manager Philippe Clement is good at, it’s replacing assets with other players and somehow getting the most out of the replacements.

He is strong for making the most of what he has, and while he couldn’t do it with the loss of Sterling v Benfica, he still has more often than not succeeded at it.

Is Barisic as good a replacement for Ridvan as Wright was for Sterling…?

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