Michael Beale says he’s confident Nico Raskin will win his race against time to be declared fit for next week’s Old Firm showdown.
The 22-year-old former Standard Liege ace was forced to withdraw from Belgian Under-21 duty last week after missing Rangers’ win over Motherwell with a thigh strain. The midfielder has since returned to light training in Glasgow but will be absent again as Beale’s side take on Dundee United at Ibrox this afternoon.
However, his boss is keeping fingers crossed that he’ll be back in action in time to take on Ange Postecoglou’s rampant Premiership leaders at Celtic Park next Saturday. Speaking ahead of today’s United clash, Beale said: “We’ll be missing Nico Raskin still. He’ll return to training at the start of next week. He’s racing ahead with his rehab but it’s too early for him. Young Leon King’s still missing and I think that’s it. Everyone else is available. “It was an issue that came up within the 24 hours before the Motherwell game, a problem with Nico’s thigh.
“He’s had a couple of weeks now but he’s still not ready. He’s been out doing some light jogging. He’s telling me he’s ready to train on Monday so we’ll see on Monday.
“Dundee United first, that’s at the forefront of our mind and next week I think he’ll be available and so will Leon King so we’ll get two more back for the next game but they’re not available this week.”
Beale is also looking forward to welcoming Ryan Jack back into his side after the Gers midfielder helped Scotland get their Euro 2024 qualification bid off to a flying start.
The Ibrox ace started the win over opening opponents Cyprus and was on the bench as Steve Clarke’s side stunned Spain to storm to the top of Group A.
Jack’s involvement did not go down well with everyone, with claims the 31-year-old was booed by a small section of the Tartan Army. But Beale downplayed the incident after being asked if it had any impact on his midfield linchpin.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “When you play for your national team, it’s been well known for years there’s fans of other clubs… If you play against one, score against one or have played for one and left, there’s going to be some people… I don’t know if it’s true or not, I wasn’t at the Cyprus game.
“I had a brief chat with him on Friday morning. I said it must have been a really good camp, two really positive results for them. I’m delighted for them, Tuesday was a really good night for Scottish football.”
Meanwhile, Beale is already getting excited about his summer rebuild - and the funds he’ll have to work with.
He said: “There’s no restrictions on budget. There is money to spend in the summer. It’s a good amount, I think for a Rangers manager compared to what I’ve seen in previous years. I’m really, really positive about the summer, but at the moment we’re still playing this season.
“There’s things to play for. I appreciate that everyone wants us to communicate outwards, which players we’re signing, which players are going. It doesn’t work like that. We’ve got to get this season played first and 10 games is a fifth of a season still to play.
“I get called regularly by different agents proposing players, but I’m a long way down the road with my thinking and with Ross Wilson and the club.”