Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will surely be counting the days until Borna Barisic returns from injury.
The Croatian left-back has been impressive since joining Rangers from Osijek in the summer, setting up seven goals in just 12 games. But he has been absent for a month with a knee injury and missed the dramatic 4-3 Europa League defeat to Spartak Moscow on Thursday.
The last few weeks have highlighted Rangers’ lack of reliable back-up options when Barisic is unavailable.
The right-footed Jon Flanagan has always looked like a square peg in a round hole on the left side, and he was exposed again and again as Spartak’s attack ran riot in Moscow.
While the versatile Andy Halliday has earned some credit for stepping in at left-back recently, the Scot is a midfielder by trade and not exactly a natural option to replace Barisic in the starting XI.
A number of disappointing displays, including defeats against Spartak and Aberdeen and a draw to Kilmarnock in Barisic’s absence, should see Gerrard add another priority to his January transfer tick-list.
According to the Express, Gerrard wants four new signings in the winter with a striker, a creative attacker, a midfielder and a centre-back on his radar. But, with Flanagan’s flaws made clear on Thursday, an upgrade at left-back could also be required.