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THE CRY WAS NO DEFENDERS AS PROBLEMS PILE UP FOR PEDRO

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SEVCO RANGERS have received a double injury setback to defenders Bruno Alves and Declan John as they prepare for the visit of Celtic on Saturday.

The pair had to be replaced during the second-half of the Betfred League Cup Cup 3-1 extra-time win over Partick Thistle last night.

Youngster Ross McCrorie took over from Alves while Lee Hodson came on for John at left-back.

Goals from Carlos Pena, Daniel Candeias and Eduardo Herrera clinched a hard-fought victory as the Ibrox men warmed up for the champions who beat them in five of their six games last season. The other ended in a draw.

Boss Pedro Caixinha said: “When we were controlling the second-half, I had to take Bruno and Declan off at the same time.

“Both have problems and that is the reason I was forced to make the substitutions.

“We know we have four days so we need to assess them over the next 24 to 48 hours and see whether we have a clearer idea if they can make it. I need to know before I can make my decision for Saturday.”

Caixinha will already be without captain Lee Wallace for the clash against Brendan Rodgers’ side.

But the Portuguese has full confidence in 19-year-old McCrorie if he has to step in at the weekend.

He said: “Ross McCrorie is going to be one of the best centre halves in history, not just for this club, but for this country.

“You just need to see what he did. He was brilliant.

“It’s not about age or names. It’s about getting the chance to prove it.

“I have no concerns about him. I never had and never will have. If he needs to play on Saturday, he will play.

“If Declan is unavailable then we have Lee and an option as well.”

After dropping two crucial Premiership points against the Jags on Friday night, Rangers had to endure an extra half an hour at Firhill after Kris Doolan scored a late equaliser for Alan Archibald’s side.

Now Caixinha will turn his attentions to Celtic. He added: “I play one game at a time. I know what I want to do on Saturday. The boys will have a day off and then we will prepare.

“The main concern is to recover. They are difference matches, but, of course, they are connected.

“If we were eliminated then, of course, the confidence would have been knocked down.

“So, it’s important to win, especially a knock-out match.

“Let’s see what this competition has for us. No matter what happens in the draw we are thinking about getting to Hampden for the Final.”

In last night’s other tie in the competition, Neil Lennon’s Hibs required a late penalty-kick from ex-Celt Anthony Stokes to overcome Livingston 3-2 at Easter Road.

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