Could Fabio Cardoso return to Rangers side to face Celtic?

Simon Murray of Hibernian takes on Fabio Cardoso of Rangers during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Hibernian at Ibrox Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Glasgow,...

Fabio Cardoso has been ostracised at Ibrox since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha.

Fabio Cardoso of Rangers gestures during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Rangers manager Graeme Murty has somewhat of a selection dilemma at centre-back ahead of Sunday's Old Firm derby against Celtic, as he looks to prevent another capitulation like the 4-0 defeat less than a fortnight ago.

Murty's prospects of getting the job on a full-time basis beyond the end of the season took a near-fatal blow, as Brendan Rodgers' side were rampant. Off-the-pitch matters made the loss a whole lot worse.

Wiping the slate clean, Murty must forget about Rangers' consecutive run of 10 games without a win against their Old Firm rivals and focus on Sunday's crucial clash. A loss will surely end his chances of getting the job.

Rangers manager Graeme Murty looks on during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Hearts at Ibrox Stadium on April 22, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

But a win could see the Gers consider him going forward, and Murty must get his selection right. Last time out, Alfredo Morelos struggled up front and Andy Halliday was substituted in the 41st minute. Mistakes like these cannot reoccur.

But it is at centre-back where former Reading and Southampton defender Murty faces his biggest dilemma, with David Bates and Bruno Alves sidelined. Lee Wallace is suspended, with Ross McCrorie and Russell Martin starting last time.

McCrorie was sent off, but he will not be suspended and instead will miss Rangers' first Scottish Cup fixture of 2018-19. But he was made to look foolish by Moussa Dembele, and Murty should opt for experience over youth.

Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic and a penalty is awarded to Celtic during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 15,...

Frenchman Dembele showed the Hampden Park crowd just how much McCrorie still has to learn - if he is to become a centre-back instead of a holding midfielder - by rinsing the Gers' number 40 for pace before earning his marching orders.

Murty must either drop McCrorie or indeed play him in a safer holding midfield role, and recall ostracised defender Fabio Cardoso to play alongside Martin.

Cardoso, 24, has played just 76 minutes of Scottish Premiership football in 2018, but his natural talent at centre-back outweighs the youthful exuberance of McCrorie and he should be thrown in at the deep end against Celtic.

Partnering him with Martin would give the Gers an aggression at the back, as well as speed but the defensive nous to keep the ball in possession and hold Dembele up. The partnership could be Rangers' surprise secret weapon on their way to an equally surprising three points.

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