RANGERS defender David Bates faces at least six weeks out with ankle ligament damage.
The 21-year-old centre-back was carried off on a stretcher following his vain attempt to prevent Tom Rogic from scoring Celtic’s opening goal in the Hoops’ 3-2 win at Ibrox on Sunday.
Caretaker boss Graeme Murty said: “David suffered a significant injury. He has damaged ligaments in his ankle. He hasn’t got a break in there although there is significant bone-bruising.
“I would suggest he is going to be a minimum of six weeks, and whilst it’s a difficult one for him to take and a very, very painful one, I think we should count our blessings because given the mechanisms and the freak nature of it, it could have been a lot, lot worse.
“We’re devastated for the young man, but relieved it’s not anything more significant.”
Bates has been a key player since stepping in for the injured Bruno Alves during the previous meeting with Brendan Rodgers’ team that ended goalless at Parkhead on December 30.
Murty added: “He’s a young man who kind of encapsulates our journey so far. He has come along way in a short time.
“It could be a big loss for us, but it’s an opportunity for someone else to continue David’s good work and push us forward.”
The former Raith Rovers player’s future beyond the summer is uncertain, but Murty is keen for the player to sign a new contract.
He added: “Talks are ongoing. We have spoken about his contractual status and his career aims.”
Read more Scottish football news from Scotzine …