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Stuart McCall reveals injured Gers played through pain barrier

Stuart McCall said after Wednesday night's win against Hibernian that his players decided to go through the pain barrier for the good of the team.

Stuart McCall revealed to the Glasgow Evening Times after Wednesday night’s win against Hibernian that a number of his players had played through the pain barrier.

Whilst he mentioned three or four were carrying “more than bruises”, he singled out Dean Shiels, who was sent home on Tuesday after pulling out of training, with McCall expecting him to miss the midweek contest.

However, Shiels, along with the other injury-hit Light Blues, insisted on playing in the play-off game and reaped the rewards with a 2-0 win that sees them head to Easter Road in control of the tie.

The Rangers manager believes the players’ willingness to play through knocks shows the togetherness of his squad and their will to win, but he is also aware that come Saturday Alan Stubbs’s men will be the fresher outfit once again.

He said: "I made three subs and could have made another four. Dean Shiels pulled out of training yesterday and was sent home.

"I didn't expect him to play tonight. He has come in wanting to play and we've had a couple of others with knocks and bruises - more than bruises - who were all desperate to be involved.

"That shows the togetherness in that dressing room. But there is still a lot of hard, hard work to do. It puts us in a good position.”

Fatigue will be a major concern for McCall going into the game as he admitted his player’s energy levels dropped in the closing 25 minutes of the match - with the next 90 minutes only two days away.

McCall’s charges will take comfort from their last visit to Easter Road – where they recorded a 2-0 win – but although they go into the game with a two-goal cushion this time around, it will be the first goal that is all-important.

If the Gers concede, they may resort to sitting behind the ball, which hasn’t been the strongest aspect of their game this season. An energetic start and an early goal would be the ideal start, but Hibs will also be looking to do exactly that.

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