Rangers trio doubtful

Scottish football
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The Independent Online
Scottish football

Rangers will be without Mark Hateley and Stuart McCall when they entertain Jimmy Nicholl's Raith Rovers at Ibrox today - five days ahead of their Champions' League opener in Romania.

Hateley and McCall face a race against time to be ready for Wednesday's tie against Steaua Bucharest, while the young midfielder Charlie Miller is extremely doubtful for today's game after being injured playing for Scotland Under-21s on Wednesday.

"This is the start of a very important period for us," said Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, whose side also come up against Celtic and Borussia Dortmund in the near future. "I feel we are at the stage where we need to be pushed and that will happen, starting against Raith."

Smith said he will also take a look at the fitness of Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup before deciding whether to pitch them in against Rovers, who are back at the scene of their Coca-Cola Cup final triumph over Celtic last November for the first time.

Hearts receive Falkirk at Tynecastle with their manager, Jim Jefferies, up against the club he left this summer. Falkirk fans have been urged by their own supporters' association not to abuse Jefferies, despite his acrimonious exit.

His successor at Brockville, John Lambie, will be without goalkeeper Tony Parks, who is suspended, but his midweek signing from Sunderland, Derek Ferguson, should play against his old club.

Hibernian go to Kilmarnock with both sides seeking better fortune after Coca-Cola Cup defeats by First Division opposition in their last outings.