Steven Gerrard: Rangers boss self-isolating after Covid-19 outbreak and misses Alashkert game

Steven Gerrard, Rangers captain James Tavernier, Ryan Kent, Scott Wright, Calvin Bassey plus goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin have not travelled to Armenia for Thursday's Europa League play-off second leg against Alashkert

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Rangers departed from Glasgow Airport on Wednesday afternoon for their Europa League tie with a number of players and manager Steven Gerrard missing following a Covid outbreak

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is self-isolating and will miss their Europa League play-off tie against Alashkert on Thursday after the club confirmed a Covid-19 outbreak.

Captain James Tavernier, Ryan Kent, Scott Wright, Calvin Bassey and goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin have also not travelled for Thursday's second leg in Armenia - which Rangers lead 1-0.

Rangers face Celtic on Sunday in the first Old Firm match of the season, live on Sky Sports.

The team arrived in three coaches at Glasgow Airport on Wednesday with assistant Gary McAllister - who is expected to lead the side - among the travelling party.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 18: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Rangers FC and Slavia Prague at Ibrox Stadium on March 18, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Image: Steven Gerrard misses Thursday's second leg in Armenia

Leon Balogun, Filip Helander, Borna Barisic, Joe Aribo, Cedric Itten, Alfredo Morelos, Connor Goldson, Nathan Patterson, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield and Ianis Hagi were among the group who travelled.

Sky Sports News understands clubs can request a postponement of league matches in the event of a major outbreak that leaves them without requisite players to fulfil the tie. However, there is nothing to suggest Rangers will do this.

The SPFL reserves the right to launch an investigation around any postponement and clubs are all being encouraged to follow JRG guidelines.

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Rangers confirmed positive cases in their latest round of coronavirus testing but did not specify how many people are affected, or if players are among those that have been forced to self-isolate.

"Rangers can confirm that during our testing schedule, we have received positive Covid-19 tests," read a club statement on Tuesday.

"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."

McAllister unsure whether Rangers players will return for Celtic game

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Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister says Rangers are looking into whether or not their players can return to face Celtic after there was a Covid-19 outbreak at the club

Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister was asked on Wednesday if there's a chance some of the Rangers players self-isolating will be released to play against Celtic, and he said: "You've got to be mindful of the fact that now that we've moved on and a lot of the people in and around our club have been double-vaccinated, there are advantages.

"So we will be looking at that. Things are going to be changing as we speak.

"I'm sure all the medical people at our club are all over that. As we pass information to the governing bodies, we will be getting guided by them as well."

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McAllister says he is desperate for more European football as he looks ahead to the second leg of their Europa League play-off against Alashkert

Despite the missing players, McAllister believes Rangers can cope against Alashkert.

He said: "We have a strong enough squad. We have been hit with suspensions and Covid but we have to adapt and utilise our squad. The players in the squad have to go and grasp the opportunity.

"We have some youngsters from the B-Team, they have impressed recently and we are confident that all of them can do a job on the pitch. Already it is a great experience for the younger guys, we are very confident in our young players.

"When you see the team tomorrow you will see it can play in most games.

"The team is capable of going and getting the result. My feeling is we can go and score goals."

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