Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In the build-up to the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox this coming weekend, there has been controversy over the availability of Nathan Patterson for Steven Gerrard’s side.

Nathan Patterson issue

The Rangers right-back is available to play in the Scottish Cup tie against Celtic at Ibrox despite breaching Covid rules earlier this year.

Rangers defender Patterson and four other Ibrox players were given a six-game ban for attending an illegal house party during lockdown in February, as reported by BBC Sport, but the Gers decided to appeal against it.

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The SFA hearing will take place after this weekend’s tie, meaning that Patterson is available to play against Celtic.

The 19-year-old Scottish right-back is likely to start the Old Firm derby, with James Tavernier on the sidelines at the moment.

John Collins’s take

Former Celtic assistant manager and ex-Scotland international midfielder John Collins has given his take on the situation, and he believes that Rangers knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to appeal against the ban.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Collins said on BBC Sportsound, as transcribed by The Scottish Sun: “In my opinion, they’ve used the system. James Tavernier’s out injured and their only other real right-back is the young lad (Patterson) who would have been suspended.

“So they’ve played the system and delayed the process which means they had a right-back available for the last Old Firm game and they’re going to have a right-back available on Sunday. So it’s worked and once again the SFA system is flawed.”

Perhaps Celtic interim-manager John Kennedy will use the availability of Patterson to fire up his players against Rangers.

In other news, Report: Everton now very close to signing £17m player