Ross County captain Richard Brittain will be out for six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury.
Brittain sustained the injury in training on Tuesday, a devastating blow to the Staggies’ hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premiership as they prepare to face champions Celtic tomorrow.
The midfielder had suffered from a foot injury earlier in the season, but held off surgery in November and has played every game since.
But he will miss a crucial run of matches for County, who are four points behind St Mirren at the bottom of the league.
Manager Jim McIntyre wants every player in his squad to take responsibility in the 31-year-old’s absence and said: “It’s a real blow, having another one out. The players were doing a bit of work and he just felt his hamstring go. It looks like a grade two injury, which is four to six weeks but we’ve just got to get on with it.
“Who the captain is now is immaterial, I’ll pick one but we need them all to be captains.”
New signing Cameron Burgess is another injury doubt after the on-loan Fulham defender hurt his ankle in training.
Injury worries are mounting with long-term absentees Darren Barr, Ben Frempah and Rocco Quinn still ruled out although midfielder Tony Dingwall will be back after a month out with a broken hand.
McIntyre added: “We’ve got the three long-term players who are still out.
“However, Tony got his cast off on Wednesday so that’s good news. He’ll be back and will be able to play with a splint on.
“It’s great to have him back, we’ve certainly missed him.”
McIntyre could hand former Celtic defender Marcus Fraser a debut against his former club, with the 20-year-old joining the Staggies earlier in the week after two trials with the Dingwall club.
McIntyre said: “Marcus has been here a couple of weeks. He was here before Christmas and came back for a few days. We think he can do a good job and that’s why we’ve signed him.
“He played 13 games with Cowdenbeath up until the middle of December so he’s had a good bit of game-time under his belt.
“But he’s stepping up a level and the platform is there for him.”