RANGERS’ injury problems are mounting up ahead of the trip to play Forres Mechanics in the Scottish Cup.
Ian Black is still struggling with the hamstring problem which kept him out of the rousing 2-0 League Cup win over Motherwell on Wednesday.
Dean Shiels is also a doubt with a groin problem which forced him off in the latter stages of that victory against the Steelmen.
Added to that the fact Fran Sandaza is out for between two and three months with a broken cheekbone and things have certainly gone downhill for Ally McCoist this week.
Andy Little and David Templeton are two other players who are definitely not making the trip north and that means the manager is short of options for the game.
Kyle Hutton may well feature again in midfield beside Lewis Macleod while Lee McCulloch will almost certainly start in attack.
McCoist said: “This is one of our worst scenarios, to have five players who are first-team starters struggling.
“Black has a hamstring problem, Shiels has one with his groin and we’re obviously missing Little and Templeton.
“We knew this sort of thing would be a possibility and with the transfer embargo coming up, it was important to try to strengthen and get bodies in.
“Unfortunately we never managed to do that but we’re going to have to get on with it. The flip side is that the younger boys who have been coming in have been wonderful.
“We’ve got a few injuries and we need to deal with that but the youths have been a breath of fresh air.
“Whether it has been Robbie Crawford, Lewis Macleod, Fraser Aird or Barrie McKay, they’ve done a job.
“The fans have really been enjoying seeing them play and that’s something which is really positive for the club at the moment.”
McCoist has revealed his dismay at losing Sandaza, who is now starting out on the long road back to full fitness following surgery yesterday.
He added: “I’m just gutted for the lad. It’s a blow for Fran himself and I’ve been up to see him a couple of times in hospital.
“It’s a horrendous facial injury and it’s as bad as I’ve ever seen on a football park. It’s a bit of a mess.
“The most important thing is Fran’s health and that he gets himself back to a position where he can play and train.
“Having seen him and spoken to the doctors and surgeons, that’s certainly going to be a longer-term thing. He’s got a really sore one.”