Andy Little is making excellent progress as he recovers from his fractured cheekbone sustained against Dunfermline Athletic on November 6.
And manager Ally McCoist is enthused over the prospect of the Northern Ireland international making an earlier than expected return to action.
“We’d be delighted to have Andy back soon and his attitude to training and getting back is absolutely first class. He was away for a well-earned break which he thoroughly deserved after his operation and it gave him time to recuperate.
“Now he’s back in doing his running and the great thing is he’ll want to play again as soon as possible.
“We’ve medical staff keeping an eye on him more than most as he’s wanting to push himself as much as he can.”
Little was widely expected to be out until well into the New Year – but an earlier return would certainly be most welcome news for all at Ibrox.
Meanwhile, Rangers return to Ochilview on Saturday evening for the second time during the current campaign to face a Stenhousemuir side who proved to be stubborn opponents in the Challenge Cup Semi-Final at the same venue some six weeks ago when a late Jon Daly goal proved decisive.
That McCoist’s men had previously overwhelmed the ‘Warriors’ 8-0 back in September at Ibrox with Daly netting four only serves to underline the challenges and problems posed by the artificial pitch that has caused so many issues for the Light Blues at times during the past 18 months.
It is true that two visits to the same venue last season yielded two wins and ten goals over East Stirlingshire – but Stenhousemuir have proved of stronger mettle and will provide a real test if Rangers are to set a new record of 21 consecutive victories in all competitions.
The Rangers manager is unlikely to make many changes from the side that defeated Ayr United last weekend. Nicky Law missed out then due to a groin injury and ill health may preclude his participation today.
David Templeton is also doubtful with a leg injury – but considerations over the surface will undoubtedly feature prominently in Ally’s thinking.
McCoist recognised the challenge posed by a Stenhousemuir side currently lying in fifth place in League One with 21 points from fifteen games.
“We expected a really tough game in the semi-final and that’s exactly what we got. Many people fancied us to win comfortably after the League match at Ibrox but we knew that was never going to be the case.
“Stenhousemuir defended really well and attempted to hit us on the break. If they do the same today that’s something we’ll have to counter.
“There was no doubt we deserved to win and we dominated possession but we missed one or two chances. It was a really difficult game for us and I don’t expect anything different with this one.”
Martyn Corrigan’s side have suffered defeat in their last two League outings – both away from home at East Fife and Ayr United. It is a safe bet that they will be up for this one however – but the travelling Light Blue support will be satisfied with nothing less than yet another win and the retention of that 100 per cent record.