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ALLY McCOIST admits he is bracing himself for a period without Bilel Mohsni early next year which could see him miss the League Cup semi-final with Celtic.

 

The defender has made himself a regular in the Tunisia squad which is close to qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations.

 

At present, the event is scheduled to be played from January 17 to February 8, although Morocco has until Saturday to decide if it still wishes to host it.

 

The Moroccans have pushed for a postponement because of the recent Ebola outbreak and a final decision will be taken next Tuesday on what will happen if they maintain their stance.

 

Should the tournament go ahead as currently planned, Tunisia will most likely be competing having moved to the top of their group in the final round of preliminary fixtures.

 

Sitting with 10 points from four games, Georges Leekens’ side will advance to the finals if it matches Egypt’s result against Senegal when it faces Botswana next Friday.

 

That would put the Eagles of Carthage through with a tie to spare and even if they suffer a dramatic collapse in their last two outings they will probably still progress.

 

The best third-placed team will go through too and Egypt are currently the highest ranked in that respect with six points, four less than Mohsni and his team-mates.

 

The latter stages of the finals event clash with the tie against Celtic on January 31 or February 1.

 

While Mohsni would certainly miss at least the meetings with Hearts and Cowdenbeath in the SPFL Championship, he may be at risk of sitting out the derby too.

 

McCoist said: “People keep talking about squads and the numbers we have in ours and this is why we need as many players to fill our group as possible.

 

“You do get injuries, suspensions and international call-ups. Regardless of the fact he hasn’t played recently, Bilel is still a very important member of our squad.

 

“Of that there is no doubt. Darren McGregor and Lee McCulloch have been doing well and were put together due to Bilel’s suspension.

 

“We have to show loyalty to boys who do well and we’ll continue to do that but we would still rather not be without anyone else.

 

“It would be nothing short of a real shock for Tunisia not to qualify now because of the position they’re in.

 

“If and when he goes, we’ll wish Bilel well but we’ll certainly miss him. It’s a catch 22 situation.”

 

http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/8031-bilel-set-for-finals-trip

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