Rangers confirm positive COVID-19 cases ahead of Old Firm derby

Jamie Spencer
Rangers have recorded positive coronavirus tests
Rangers have recorded positive coronavirus tests / Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Rangers have confirmed they have found positive COVID-19 cases from their latest round of testing, just days before facing Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the season.

The Scottish champions also play Armenian club Alashkert for a place in the Europa League group stage this week, holding a narrow 1-0 lead from the first leg.

Rangers have not disclosed how many individuals have been affected by the outbreak. But all those who need to are self-isolating in accordance with the protocols.

Manager Steven Gerrard is among those isolating and he has not travelled to Armenia with the rest of the squad. James Tavernier, Ryan Kent, Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin have also been left out of the travelling party for Thursday night's game.

A statement from the club when the positive tests were first confirmed explained: “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.”

This season, Rangers are looking to defend the Scottish Premiership title they wrestled back from Celtic in 2020/21. Neither club has had a perfect start to the new campaign, each taking six points from a possible nine in their opening three games, but Sunday’s Old Firm game at Ibrox is seen as an opportunity for either to make an early statement of intent.

Like Rangers, Celtic must also contend with a Europa League qualifier before the weekend. They travel to the Netherlands to face AZ Alkmaar in the hope of protecting a 2-0 aggregate lead.

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