GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST admits Rangers have been left in a 'difficult situation' after Alfredo Morelos was ruled out of the Old Firm clash at Parkhead next month.

The striker will miss the second derby of the campaign while he represents Colombia in their World Cup qualifiers with Peru and Argentina.

Van Bronckhorst could be without Joe Aribo if Nigeria continue to progress in the African Cup of Nations and the playmaker has a semi-final date in sight on the night Rangers face Celtic.

There are also doubts over the availability of Kemar Roofe and James Sands for what could be a pivotal fixture in the Premiership title race.

Morelos has been an impressive performer since Van Bronckhorst's appointment in November and the Ibrox boss knows his loss will be tough to take for the Old Firm showdown.

Van Bronckhorst said: “He has been in really good form, especially the last months for me since I came in.

"I think he had a great development in every aspect of the game, so I’m really happy for him and also for Rangers that he has good momentum.

“When he is playing well, he gets called up for Colombia. So he won’t be with us for the coming weeks as he tries to qualify for Qatar at the end of the year.

“Obviously you want to have your full squad for every game but at this moment, we miss Aribo and Morelos. That’s not what you want but it’s the way it is.

“If you have international games during the league, it always gives you a difficult situation.

"Not only for me or the club but also for players because they are stuck in between playing for their country and their club.

“I know what the club means for Joe and Alfredo but as an international player, I also know how important it is to be successful for your national team. It’s a battle you can’t win as a player."