Steven Gerrard has ruled out the possibility of Jamie Murphy making his long-awaited Rangers return on the same plastic Rugby Park pitch where he suffered his horror knee injury.
Murphy sustained a season-ending injury just four weeks into the campaign as he ruptured knee ligaments in a Betfred Cup tie with Kilmarnock back in August.
It has been a long road back to fitness but Gerrard had hoped to involve the winger again before the curtain comes down on the current term.
However, with the post-split fixtures scheduling Rangers for a trip to face Steve Clarke’s men on the Ayrshire astroturf on the final day of the season, the Light Blues boss has decided the game is not worth risking Murphy on.
“Jamie has a chance of training with the squad before the end of the season but with the last game being on astroturf, I don’t think it makes sense to push Jamie in one game before the end of the season,” he said.
“If that game was on grass, there would probably have been a better chance.”
Gerrard has also revealed Graham Dorrans could make a surprise comeback before the end of the campaign.
Dorrans has been plagued by his own knee issues for almost a year and has made just three appearances all season.
Gerrard confessed last month he had no idea when the former Scotland midfielder would be seen in a blue jersey again.
But the 31-year-old was given a run out in Monday’s closed-door clash with Liverpool Under-23s and might even be back in action at some point over the final four games of the season.
“Graham is repeating training sessions now which is good to see,” said Gerrard. “The injury is not on his mind anymore which is the key thing.
“It is probably too soon for him at the weekend, but we will look to try and get him some minutes in a reserve game coming up and then we will analyse him, probably in a week’s time to see where he is at.
“He has missed a lot of football and I don’t want to put Graham in when he’s not ready – I don’t think that will be fair on him. He is working extremely hard and pushing himself.
“He has had a frustrating time but, at the moment, he seems to be in a better place than he was two or three weeks ago.”
In the meantime, Rangers have Aberdeen to deal with first and defender Jon Flanagan admits his side will be out for revenge at Ibrox on Sunday.
Derek McInnes’ side have beaten Rangers on all three occasions they have met in Glasgow this term as they dumped Gerrard’s team out of both domestic cup competitions.
Flanagan said: “There is a feeling in the changing room, amongst everyone, that we owe them one. I think we need to go and be prepared right for this game and make a statement.
“I think every team up here raises their game against Rangers, we are a massive club and it is like a cup final to them.
“I think Aberdeen do that and a lot of other teams do that as well. It is a compliment to the football club and to the players who are playing.”