Rangers ordered to play

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The Independent Online
Flu-ridden Rangers were last night told that their Bell's Scottish League Premier Division fixture with Hibernian at Easter Road today has to go ahead.

The Ibrox club failed in an appeal to the Scottish League management committee to have the match postponed because of huge injury and illness problems. Rangers' manager, Walter Smith, asked his staff to lodge medical certificates with the League and ask for a postponement, but after phoning round delegates his plea was rejected. Title rivals Celtic were represented in the decision by director Eric Riley, with Aberdeen, Dundee United and Raith the other Premier Division clubs represented.

A League spokesman said: "Rangers have 36 full professionals and 11 apprentice professionals, giving them 47 players. Medical certificates showed they had 11 fit full professionals and eight apprentice professionals who are fit, so the committee was not of a mind to postpone the fixture."

It is understood some of the Rangers medical certificates pertained to injuries as well as flu symptoms and now they look certain to field players who are carrying knocks.

Rangers had to play without Richard Gough and Brian Laudrup in Thursday's 3-1 win over Celtic, with several other players suffering flu symptoms. Now it looks as though they will be without Gough, Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne, Erik Bo Andersen and several others from the side that beat Celtic as they take a 14-point lead to Easter Road.

"I am unable to name a squad for the match and it will be a very strange Rangers line-up," Smith said. He claimed that Rangers had only nine senior players in training yesterday - with three of those being goalkeepers.

Hibernian will be without the suspended pair Andy Millen and John Hughes, while Rab Shannon is injured.