Injury scares for Rangers
Walter Smith is sweating over Lee McCulloch and Kyle Lafferty after they picked up knocks against Sydney.
Last Updated: 28/07/10 4:50pm
Rangers boss Walter Smith is sweating over Lee McCulloch and Kyle Lafferty after they picked up knocks in Wednesday's friendly against Sydney.
The pair hobbled off late on in the goalless draw that finished in somewhat farcical circumstances as the pitch was largely waterlogged due to a number of puddles.
Northern Ireland striker Lafferty went off with a calf problem after 79 minutes, with McCulloch limping down the tunnel moments later.
The injury worries are the last thing Smith needs right now after a miserable summer that has seen six players leave Ibrox with no fresh faces to excite the home faithful.
Rangers also substituted Kenny Miller, who has been suffering from shin splints over the past three weeks, on the hour mark.
Smith had Steven Whittaker back from injury, allowing him to rest Madjid Bougherra, while Neil Alexander replaced Allan McGregor in the only two changes to the team that beat Blackburn in their first match of the Sydney Festival of Football.
But Rangers struggled to find a rhythm in a first half of few chances on a deteriorating pitch.
Lafferty lit up the contest with a brilliant run, but he passed up the chance to shoot after beating his fourth man and his pass to Steven Naismith was overhit.
Maurice Edu had a great chance midway through the second half when Steven Davis found him unmarked from a free-kick, but Sydney goalkeeper Liam Reddy brilliantly pushed away the American's downward header.
Alexander also pulled off a good save when he clawed away Ibrahima Thiam-Iyane's curling effort from just inside the box.
As conditions became even more difficult, Rangers suffered the two injuries that will stretch Smith's small squad yet further.
Rangers will face AEK Athens on Saturday in the final game of the three-match tournament, having already defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-1 last weekend.