Scottish football: Laudrup back up front for Rangers

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The Independent Online
Brian Laudrup, the Danish international, returns after a one-match absence to take the field for Rangers against Hearts at Ibrox today.

Laudrup, who has hit 13 goals this season, missed last week's Scottish Cup win over St Johnstone after suffering a recurrence of the flu which forced him out of the last Old Firm derby.

Laudrup's return is heartening for the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, after the news that Stuart McCall will be out for the rest of the season. McCall, who has not played for Rangers since October, is to have an operation on his medial ligament.

Paul Gascoigne and Sebastian Rozental are also on the sidelines today with ligament injuries while Erik Bo Andersen is troubled by a hamstring complaint but is hoping to play.

Gordon Durie will return for his first start since September as Rangers try to protect a year-long unbeaten record at Ibrox in the Premier Division. Hearts were the last winners there when, again in the absence of Gascoigne, they won 3-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Alan Johnston last January.

Celtic, who face a testing trip to Dundee United, have moved within six points of the Ibrox side, with 12 games to go, as Rangers try to equal their record of nine consecutive titles. David Sinclair could be a surprise addition to the United bench at Tannadice today. Their manager, Tommy McLean, is trying to wrap up a pounds 90,000 deal to sign Sinclair from Millwall.

Frayed nerves will dominate at Easter Road as second-bottom Hibernian face 10th-placed Raith in a survival scrap. Hibs are still seeking their first point under their manager, Jim Duffy.