Major blow for Rangers ahead of Alashkert and Celtic ties as positive Covid-19 tests confirmed

Rangers have suffered a major blow ahead of two key matches this week after members of their camp returned positive Covid-19 tests.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 8:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 8:58 pm

The Ibrox club take on Alashkert in the second leg of the Europa League play-off round in Armenia on Thursday, where they are defending a 1-0 lead, before hosting Celtic on Sunday in the cinch Premiership.

While the identities of those affected have been kept confidential, it is likely that it will be a diminished group that fly out to Yerevan on Wednesday for their European match.

Rangers have confirmed that those who have tested positive are now isolating, as Scottish Government protocols state, along with those deemed as “close contacts”.

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Rangers are due to host Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday

A statement on Rangers’ website read: “Rangers can confirm that during our testing schedule, we have received positive COVID-19 tests.

“Those identified as positive are now in self isolation along with ‘close contacts’.

“We have followed best practice in our procedures and protocols. From the outset of the pandemic, Rangers has worked closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish football to ensure the health of our staff is protected at all times. We will continue to do so.”

It is far from ideal preparation for Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his players, who have come under some scrutiny on the pitch off late after tumbling out of the Champions League qualification rounds to Malmo and losing 1-0 to Dundee United in an early league match.

They face a rejuvenated Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the season this weekend before domestic football takes a two-week hiatus due to the international break.