By Stewart Fisher

STEVEN Gerrard revealed last night that Jermain Defoe is out of tonight’s crucial Europa League encounter with Feyenoord due to a groin strain he picked up in training - while the club are sweating on the fitness of full back Borna Barisic. The Croatian full back, who has been a revelation in the club’s continental matches this term, is still feeling the after effects of Sunday’s meeting with Hamilton, but will be given every chance to prove his fitness with either Jon Flanagan or Andy Halliday set to deputise if he doesn’t make it.

With Nikola Katic left in Glasgow, Rangers are likely to continue with Filip Helander and Connor Goldson in central defence. “Borna is carrying a couple of kicks from the weekend but, if not available, we’ve brought Jon and Andy along as well,” said Gerrard. “If Borna comes through he’ll play. Defoe got injured in training and is ruled out for tomorrow but he should be fit for the weekend.”

The injury to Defoe places an additional onus on Alfredo Morelos not to pick up any silly bookings in a match which sees the Colombian chasing a unique piece of club history. Should the man who scored the winner in the previous meeting between these two sides at Ibrox in September get on the scoresheet again, he will become the first Rangers player ever to score in four consecutive European matches.

“It’s always an issue for every player in Europe, you’ve got to make sure you behave and respect the referee and don’t do anything stupid because there are some things you won’t get away with in Europe you might get away with domestically,” said Gerrard. “But Alfredo deserves big praise for his behaviour this season, of course he does.There’s no more pressure although we’re disappointed not to have Jermain. We still have two people in the squad who are capable of playing as a single nine anyway - Sheyi has done it before, with his pace and his power, and Greg Stewart can play there as well no doubt, more as a false nine when he drops shorter to feet.”