JIMMY NICHOLL has urged his squad to rise for one last challenge this season at Easter Road on Sunday, despite being without key players Ross McCrorie, Graham Dorrans and Alfredo Morelos.
Dorrans limped off with an injury at Pittodrie on Tuesday night with Morelos and McCrorie picking up yellow cards which means they will now miss this weekend’s Premiership clash with Hibernian.
Nicholl admits he will have to shuffle his pack for the big game with Declan John also still out, but he hopes Rangers can complete the 2017/18 campaign with a positive result having been pleased with the battling second-half display against Aberdeen in the Granite City in midweek.
Hibs, of course, suffered a 2-1 defeat to Hearts on Wednesday night which was important for Rangers’ league position, and Lennon vented his frustration in his post-match interviews at Tynecastle.
Nicholl, speaking at today’s press conference at the Rangers training ground, said: “Neil speaks from the heart all the time, so however he feels he just says it and if he is really disappointed with them I’m sure he never missed them.
“He’ll be looking for a reaction now and he’ll want to make sure that they finish their season convincingly with a win against Rangers.
“So we have to do the opposite. We just have to make sure we go out and do our job the best we can do it. We have Alfredo suspended, Ross suspended, Graham Dorrans out and a couple of other ones are struggling.
We’ll have to juggle things about a wee bit because we’ve just kept it consistent and they’ve been doing alright the last couple of games.
“We might have to change things at the weekend which isn’t great because I thought we were going along nicely, but the rest of them are ready to play and they all want to play the last game of the season.”
While Rangers could only secure a point against Aberdeen on Tuesday night, Nicholl believes Ross McCrorie’s headed goal to make it 1-1 has helped to lift spirits ahead of Sunday’s visit to Leith.
He said: “We had to wait until the following night to see how Hearts got on against Hibs and after Hearts won the game I think it did give everybody a wee lift.
“But I think the second-half performance against Aberdeen also gave the players a lift. First 15 minutes was good and then we lost our way a wee bit and then picked it up again in the second half.
“Although we didn’t win the game, it was good bus journey back on Tuesday night and it just keeps things ticking over.”