Frank McAvennie has suggested that Rangers won’t risk big-name defender James Tavernier in the Scottish Cup clash against Celtic.

The Bears welcome their fierce rivals to Ibrox in the fourth round of the domestic cup, with the winners expected to go on and win the competition.

Tavernier has been back in training since the end of this week, and was set to be assessed in the immediate build-up to the clash.

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Speaking to the Daily Record, McAvennie suggested that it will be Nathan Patterson who keeps his spot in the starting XI.

“Celtic found Rangers out in the last Old Firm, those long balls forward to Balogun caused all kinds of problems,” he said.

“The full-back will have to do a lot of running and if Tavernier isn’t 100% fit then Patterson will surely start.

“I just can’t see Gerrard risking him and Patterson has done such a good job, I don’t think it’s mind games, Gerrard’s just being honest.”

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All eyes on Patterson.

The academy talent is finally going to get the chance to start his first Old Firm game against Celtic this week, and he will be raring to go.

An injury kept him on the bench during the 1-1 draw last time out, but with Tavernier and Leon Balogun nursing their own knocks, he is finally getting that chance.

Patterson has been sensational since coming into the side, and following in the footsteps of Tavernier is no easy task, despite him making it look that way.

We are set to learn a lot about the right-back at Ibrox tomorrow afternoon, and a big role in another huge victory would set him up perfectly for a long career in Glasgow.

In other Rangers news, ‘Keep his mouth shut’ – Chris Sutton savages John Kennedy after humiliating Bears claim ahead of Old Firm

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