Rangers striker Zak Lovelace faces up to two months out of action after suffering a hamstring tear during a B Team defeat to Royal Antwerp this week.

The Englishman was withdrawn in the early stages in Belgium as a youthful side - who were two goals ahead through Josh Gentles and Findlay Curtis - lost 3-2 in their friendly fixture. Boss David McCallum revealed that the substitution was a precautionary measure but the Rangers Review understands a subsequent scan has shown an issue that will keep Lovelace out of action for the foreseeable future.

Lovelace had only just returned to the second string squad after spending several months on the sidelines after being crocked during the win over St Mirren. The 18-year-old was included in the starting line-up in Paisley by interim boss Steven Davis but saw his chance to impress come to a premature end as he was forced off before the end of the first half.

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Lovelace spoke last month about his desire to return to the first team squad as he sought to catch the eye of Philippe Clement and earn his chance in the closing stages of the campaign. But those ambitions have now suffered another setback and he faces up to eight weeks out of contention as he embarks on the road to recovery once again.

“My motivation is probably the highest that it’s been,” Lovelace told RangersTV after returning to McCallum's squad. “I just want to come back, do what I need to do, score a couple of goals, and hopefully look forward to winning a couple of trophies. I was jokingly telling the physio if we could skip the extra one or two weeks [of rehab] so I could get back on the pitch. I really wanted to get back as soon as possible, but I knew I had to take my time with it.

“I was in a dark space for the first three weeks. I thought, listen, I’m finished if this doesn’t go right. But I came back in training and there was a week it felt a bit tight, but fortunately I’m back to where I am now. When I started sprinting, I hit a couple of good speeds. I knew then that I would be back soon and I was so excited.

“I’ve been speaking to the assistant coaches, Alex Rae and Brian Gilmour, quite regularly and they have been giving me motivation, telling me that I need to leave my print when I come round to train with the first-team.

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“The fans have been excellent and they’ve been messaging me with support. They’ve been telling me to keep my head up and that I’ll be back. They’ve kept my spirits high and I love it.”

Lovelace has long been touted as one of the rising stars of the Auchenhowie academy after making the move from Millwall in July 2022. The previous year, he had become the second youngest debutant – after former Ibrox striker Moses Ashikodi – to appear for the Lions when he came off the bench in a Championship clash with Coventry City.

The England youth international must decide whether to extend his stay at Ibrox or not as he enters the final months of his contract. But his main focus now will be to get back on the pitch as quickly as possible as Clement’s side look to add the Premiership title and Scottish Cup to the League Cup trophy that was lifted in December.