Jack Simpson set for Old Firm debut as Rangers’ defensive problems mount

Simpson has only started once since arriving at Ibrox in January.

By Press Association Published: 30 April 2021 - 3.28pm

Rangers defender Jack Simpson is set to make his Old Firm debut on Sunday after Filip Helander was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard confirmed Helander will play no part in his side’s final three games of the campaign – starting with Celtic’s Ibrox visit this weekend.

However, Gerrard remains confident the Sweden international will still make this summer’s Euros, despite suffering a knee injury against St Johnstone last week.

The centre-back limped off in extra-time as last weekend’s shock Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat to Saints went to penalties.

With Leon Balogun and long-term casualty Nikola Katic also unavailable, it means former Bournemouth stopper Simpson is now set for a derby baptism of fire as he makes just his second Light Blues start since moving to Glasgow in January.

Scott Arfield sat out the spot-kick defeat to Saints with an ankle knock and has also been told his season is over.

Gerrard said: “We won’t have Fil Helander, probably for the remainder of the season.

“The same goes for Scott Arfield, so we’re a little bit light at centre-back and in midfield.

“Scott’s injury is in the ankle area and Fil’s is in the knee area. In terms of what the doctor’s diagnosis on them is, I’m still waiting for certain information and scan results.

“But I think Fil has got a good chance (of making the Euros).”

Asked if Simpson was now destined to start, the Ibrox boss replied with a grin: “Unless I’m going to play centre-back myself, which is unlikely…”

Skipper James Tavernier is confident the former Cherries ace will handle the Old Firm heat.

“I was very impressed with Jack’s first start away to St Johnstone,” he said.

“He handled himself really well as we know it’s a tough place to go and for his first start he made a real impact and I have no doubt in his ability for this game, I’ve seen enough of him in training.

“It’s obviously a different occasion but he’s raring to go if the gaffer starts him and the boys have full confidence in him.”

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