Rangers host Hearts at Ibrox on Saturday in a top-of-the-table Premiership clash, but boss Steven Gerrard faces a huge selection headache with striker Kemar Roofe a major doubt.
That’s according to The Scottish Sun, who claim Roofe has a horrid race against the clock to feature this weekend. The forward is away from Glasgow with Jamaica for their World Cup qualifiers, and should start against Honduras on Thursday.
But Roofe is unlikely to arrive in Scotland until Friday, as the 28-year-old faces a gruelling flight back. Even if he flew straight from Honduras, his total journey would cover 5,000 miles and 14-hours. A tough ask with the tie not finishing until around 03:00 UK time.
Gerrard would then only have Friday and Saturday morning to judge Roofe’s fitness to line up for Rangers against Hearts. The Gers boss will want his £3.5m signing to feature, with Robbie Neilson’s men the last remaining unbeaten Premiership side.
Jamaica will also want Roofe on the pitch when they face Honduras to kickstart their World Cup qualifying campaign. Theodore Whitmore’s Reggae Boyz sit bottom of their group after five games, losing three and drawing two.
They can overtake Honduras – who are also winless – with victory on Thursday, and Roofe should be key to any result. He led the Jamaica frontline in a goalless draw with Canada on Sunday for his third-cap. The Walsall-born striker made his Reggae Boyz debut last month.
Gerrard faces Rangers headache vs Hearts without Roofe
Gerrard would face a headache naming his Rangers side to face Hearts if Roofe is not fit to feature. The forward is the Gers’ top-scorer in all competitions this season with six goals in 11 appearances so far. Of those, three have come in the Premiership, also a team-high.
But Roofe also offers Rangers more than just goals, which Gerrard may struggle to replicate in potential alternatives. The Ibrox head coach lauded the attacker’s energy in matches last year, stating via the official Rangers Twitter feed:
“He’s running more than the midfielders and he’s running the most in the team at the moment. I think he’s really setting the example in terms of what we need to put into a game to get the results we’re getting. Everyone is putting in impressive numbers, but Roofe has raised the bar with the last couple of performances he’s put in.”