Konterman fails to recover

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The Independent Football

The Rangers defender Bert Konterman has been ruled out of Saturday's Tennent's Scottish Cup final with Celtic. The Dutchman, who has not played since March, has not recovered from a broken toe in time.

The Rangers manager, Alex McLeish, said: "Unfortunately for Bert he's not going to make it. And that is tough on him because he has been tremendous in the last four months. Bert has made sacrifices for Rangers in recent times. He has put the club before himself and taken pain-killing injections to play with a fractured foot. So for that reason it would be nice to win the Cup and dedicate it to guys like Bert."

Barry Ferguson, Craig Moore, Shota Arveladze and Ronald de Boer have all been passed fit to take part. De Boer will take two pain-killing injections to see him through the game. The Dutch midfielder received a jab in his toe before last weekend's Premier League game against Aberdeen in a quest to get match practice under his belt and book his place in the squad for Hampden Park. He said: "It's not been easy – the game on Saturday was quite heavy but from now on all eyes are straight ahead to the game against Celtic."

Since his arrival as manager in December, Alex McLeish has yet to experience an Old Firm defeat and boasts an impressive record against Celtic – one win and two draws. That included removing Celtic from the CIS Insurance League Cup to allow Rangers to go on to lift the trophy and deny the Hoops the opportunity of winning an historic treble for the second successive season.

For Celtic, Chris Sutton, Paul Lambert, Stephen Crainey and Bobo Baldé are all battling against injury in a bid to take their places against Rangers.

The Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, insists he will not hesitate to leave players on the bench if he suspects they cannot give him 100 per cent.

"One or two people are going to be disappointed," he said. "Those players who are attempting to recover in time will have to prove to me they're fit and, if they can't, I will pick someone else. It's my responsibility to pick the strongest side and I can assure you that's what I'll be doing."