STEVEN GERRARD could welcome back his self-isolating players for the Premiership encounter against Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday with a midday kick-off.

Following a Covid outbreak, the manager and six of his players – goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin plus skipper James Tavernier, Calvin Bassey, Ryan Kent and Scott Wright were all ordered to quarantine.

Gerrard and co were not on the flight for this afternoon’s Europa League final play-off second leg against Alashkert in Armenia where the Govan club hold a 1-0 advantage.

But the team boss and the players could all return for the visit of Ange Postecoglou’s side in three days’ time.

This follows a change in SFA guidelines to fall in line with Test and Protect rules across Scotland.

COVID-STRICKEN CELTS…with 13 players out, David Turnbull nets a superb free-kick in the 1-1 draw with Hibs on January 11.

The Scottish Government eased restrictions on isolating if you have come into contact with a someone who has returned a positive test. This is based on having both Covid vaccine doses.

The current SFA guidelines only came into force 17 days ago with regards to close contacts and those who been double vaccinated. Only staff or players with symptoms or testing positive are still required to self-isolate.

Current advice from Scottish football’s governing body states they follow “Test and Protect is Scotland’s method of putting into practice NHS Scotland’s test, trace, isolate and support strategy.”

Gary McAllister has revealed that the club’s medical staff hope isolating players could be in line for a quickfire comeback.

COVID-STRICKEN CELTS…Armstrong Oko-Flex misses in front of goal in the 0-0 draw with Livingston on January 16.

The stand-in boss, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “You’ve got to be mindful of the fact that now we have moved on, and a lot of people around our club are double vaccinated, there are advantages.

“So, we’ll be looking at that. I’m sure our medical people at the club are all over that.”

Thirteen Celtic players plus manager Neil Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy were ordered to self-isolate in January after Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid on the return from the ill-fated Dubai trip.

Gavin Strachan had to step up to take charge of the team for the league games against Hibs and Livingston – both at Parkhead – and they ended in draws with the team dropping four more crucial points as their quest for 10 in a row faltered.

Of course, none of this will be of any concern to Postecoglou as he prepares his team for tonight’s Europa League play-off final test in the Netherlands before even thinking about the first Glasgow derby of the campaign.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report on AZ Alkmaar v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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