Rangers have welcomed news that Lee McCulloch could return from injury in time to boost their title bid.
The midfielder has been out of action since the start of February with a knee problem.
It emerged that he had been playing through the pain barrier for months after developing a cyst.
Initial medical reports suggested that the problem would bring his season to a premature end, with it unlikely that he would be back to full fitness until the summer.
However, the 32-year-old has made impressive progress in his rehabilitation and could come back into contention before the end of the 2010/11 campaign.
On McCulloch's fitness, Gers boss Walter Smith said: "Lee is a bit behind the other lads who are coming back but I would hope we would maybe get him back for the last month of the season.
"As long as everything goes the way it is going at the present moment, that should be a realistic timescale.
"The specialist's reports on him are very good and it would be a big thing for us to get him back."
Rangers are also hoping to welcome back another of their stricken stars in the not too distant future.
Defender Kirk Broadfoot has shaken off a foot problem which has sidelined him since November and he is in line to make his return to first-team action against Dundee United on 2nd April, alongside youngster Jamie Ness.
Smith told the club's official website: "Kirk will be fit for the Dundee United game but with the length of time he has been out, getting him games is going to be the difficult thing for us.
"We're going to have to try to get him a number of matches so that he can get up and running but he's a fit lad and takes pride in his fitness.
"I don't think it should take too long before we see him back again and Jamie will be close to being fit again too by the time we start playing again.
"We're going to need all three of them back because we've got 11 games to play now and it's going to be a big ask of everyone in our group to do well."