STEVEN GERRARD has given an injury update ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Premiership opener at Aberdeen.
The Light Blues’ squad is in good shape as they make the journey north to the Granite City this afternoon – with the manager expecting one player set to miss out tomorrow to be ready for Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday.
He told today’s press conference: "Jermain Defoe won't make tomorrow's game - he is still recovering from a hamstring injury but he is progressing well although the weekend comes too soon.
"Steven Davis is still got a niggling Achilles, but he is progressing really well - he probably will miss this game by a couple of days, but we are expecting him back in full training early in the week and he should be available on Thursday night.
"Besides that, everyone is fit and well assuming they come through this morning's session."
Tomorrow’s match will see Gerrard able, if he wishes, to deploy five substitutes in a competitive match for the first time.
The SPFL only confirmed the news last night, and while the timing in the view of the manager could have been better, he sees plenty of good to come from it.
He continued: "It is something we are going to have to chat about as a staff, as a group, and also with the board as well.
"That could change the plans. We only got this news late last night which is quite strange on the eve of a season to get news as big as that.
"But we do think it will have advantages as well - it is an opportunity to get more people game time and you can keep more players in your squad happy.
"It is a chance to maybe, at the right time, blood some youngsters within that as well and everyone knows how important the Academy is here.
"So it is something we will adapt to, and we do see a lot of advantages to it. But, it was a bit of a surprise with the timing coming 48 hours before a game.
"It's quite strange to get that news as it is such a big change for everyone across the league."
Gerrard was quizzed this morning on potential transfer ins and outs with the transfer window beginning to motor.
"I think it is going to be a unique window in terms of ins and outs,” he explained. “Some teams have only recently just finished, some leagues are still playing and some players are on holiday.
"I think it is going to have to be a patient window - we are close on one or two things in-terms of additions, so fingers-crossed if they keep progressing, we are hoping to have someone in the door pretty soon.
"But until you finalise that and get it over the line, I don't want to say too much on it. But we are actively trying to make the team and the squad stronger, and we are close on a couple of things.
"In terms of outgoings, it depends on a lot of things. When you start naming squads and picking teams, naturally, people might feel like they are on the outside and things can develop at any given time.
"Nobody will be leaving unless the either meet our valuation or we thing it is going to benefit that player going out."
The manager was also asked what he expected from Aberdeen – if he expected them to be bold or to sit back.
He added: "We have to be ready for both. I think at possible, they have been quite bold at Pittodrie - we will have to work the gameplan out as and when.
"We do know that Derek [McInnes] is very organised in-terms of his shape and he does like his players to be really disciplined within that, so we are ready for both scenarios.
"For me, it is about preparing Rangers to be in the best-possible shape. We expect a tough challenge and a good game - the games have been really entertaining up at Pittodrie and hopefully it is the same and we can come out with the outcome we want.
"But we believe we are ready and we are really looking forward to getting up there and getting the game started."