Rangers manager Ally McCoist has revealed on-loan defender Kyle Bartley could be back in action in four weeks' time.
The Arsenal defender underwent a second hernia operation on Tuesday after limping out of Gers' 2-0 win at Inverness.
It had been feared the youngster could require six weeks on the sidelines, but McCoist is hopeful he could be back sooner.
The Ibrox tactician will not rush Bartley back into action too soon, stating he will give him as long as necessary to fully heal.
"It's a big disappointment for Kyle himself that he's out for a bit longer, but I had a good chat with him last night after his operation and he's upbeat," McCoist told the club's official website.
"He was obviously in a little bit of discomfort and a little bit of pain, but he still managed to ask me if there was any possibility we could put the Celtic game back.
"I thought that was wonderful and it just sums big Kyle up. He doesn't want to miss any training or any games. I told him I'd ask, but I didn't hold much hope it would happen for him.
"With the attitude he has and what he gives us, being without him is a big miss for ourselves, but we won't rush him back.
"When you've someone who is as eager to be part of the team as he is, in many cases that's half the battle.
"I'd hope we'd have him back in around four weeks or so, but we'll take as long as he needs to make sure he is fit again."
Meanwhile, McCoist could be willing to sanction a loan move to the First Division for Kyle Hutton and John Fleck after their moves to Sheffield United fell through.
A club statement read: "As it is, both clubs have been told by ruling bodies the transfers can't take place until the next registration period in January because it would involve moving from one country to another.
"There is no such restriction on any player leaving to go to a lower league club within Scotland on an emergency loan."