Rangers could be forced to throw Nathan Patterson in from the start against Livi

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Leon Balogun is an injury doubt ahead of Rangers’ match against Livingston.

The defender filled in at right-back for injured captain James Tavernier in the Europa League second leg victory over Royal Antwerp last Thursday, but was replaced at half-time by Nathan Patterson.

It was a surprise return for the 19-year-old, whose Ibrox career appeared in jeopardy just weeks ago after he breached Covid-19 protocols.

He grabbed his second chance with both hands, scoring just 16 seconds after the restart as Steven Gerrard’s men headed for a 5-2 victory on the night.

Scott Brown and an emotional Celtic farewell

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Now it looks like Patterson could be in from the start against David Martindale’s side, who are looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing Sunday’s Betfred Cup Final against St Johnstone.

Rangers had the weekend off, but that rest may not be enough for 32-year-old Balogun to make Wednesday night’s match.

As quoted by Record Sport, Gerrard responded to a question about the Nigeria international’s fitness during his press conference on Tuesday by saying: “In terms of Leon, he’s struggling for tomorrow.

“He got a niggle in the quad muscle that he came off the game with. He’s a big doubt tomorrow for sure.”

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A win against Livingston would leave Rangers requiring just four points from their final seven matches in order to be crowned champions.

Having been held to a goalless draw on their last trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena in August, however, Gerrard isn’t taking the three points for granted.

He said: “We have to handle the environment, the pitch.

“Obviously it’s an astroturf game which gives them an advantage. Davie has done a magnificent job with Livingston since he’s become the number one coach.

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“I know he was there prior and had a big influence, but I see a more positive Livingston. I see a Livingston that presses higher and has more energy and more quality than previously with all due respect.

“The last game we played against a low block that didn’t have any ambition to come near our goal. That was a challenge for us and we didn’t have enough quality to break that down.

“Having analysed Livingtson in terms of the last 10 or 15 games which Davie has led, they are certainly more front foot and pressing higher so we see this game as a slightly different challenge to what we’ve faced previously.

“It’s one we’ll need to be ready for, we’ll have to compete, we’ll have to fight, we’ll have to do the ugly side of the game and our quality will take over.”

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