Rangers confirm major blow as Celtic handed title advantage

Rangers FC v St. Mirren FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Rangers FC v St. Mirren FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Celtic have won both Glasgow Derbies this season and pretty convincingly, but the gap between them and the Rangers in the Premiership table is not significant. Philippe Clement's side are five points behind the league leaders but they do have a game in hand as well. Things are tight, no matter which way you look at it.

Thus, Brendan Rodgers' team need to improve in the second half of the season and be more consistent. The fact that they have not strengthened their squad significantly this January has fans worried.

On the other hand, the Rangers have worries of their own. And the biggest of them might be having to deal with the absence of Abdallah Sima.

Sima picked up an injury in training while away at the Africa Cup of Nations. He has had to undergo surgery and will be out for a while. As reported by STV News, Clement said:

"The surgery went well, it will be between two and three months that he will be out.

“We have had discussions with Brighton (regarding if Sima will stay at the club while injured).

“He has had his operation and the surgeon was really happy with the way it went.

“He is positive, he is someone who is always working hard and we expect him to be back as fast as possible in a healthy way and we can count on him at the end of the season."

Rangers confirm blow as Celtic handed title advantage

Sima is currently on loan at Ibrox from Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls have a great track record when it comes to identifying talent and he has made a difference up top for the Rangers.

Sima has been the Rangers' best player so far this season. He has scored 15 goals in all competitions and for a team that has lacked form in front of goal, his absence could end up having a significant impact.

The Brighton & Hove Albion loanee was the one who was often helping them get over the line in tight games. Who will do that in his absence?

In the eyes of many, this is Celtic's chance to build a gap over the Rangers, if they can find their form. The Hoops did return from the winter break in style with a 5-0 victory over Buckie Thistle but that is a game they were expected to win comfortably.