Rangers look set to lose Madjid Bougherra for the new year Old Firm derby after Algeria confirmed the defender would not be allowed to arrive late for their African Nations Cup training camp.
Bougherra had been hoping to convince manager Rabah Saadane to allow him to play in his club’s festive fixtures against Hibernian, Dundee United and Celtic.
But Algeria assistant boss Zahier Djelloul said in the Daily Mail: “We’ve asked our squad to meet up on December 27 for a training camp in the south of France and we want all players there – without exception.
“That would include Madjid Bougherra and any other European players who have games for their clubs over that period.
“We don’t believe we are being unreasonable with our request as almost every other African nation is taking the same stance.”
FIFA rules dictate players must be released – if requested by their national team – for the African Nations Cup 14 days before the tournament’s January 10 kick-off.
Rangers have reportedly received a a letter from the Algerian Federation ordering Bougherra’s December 27 arrival in France.
The Ibrox club play Hibs that afternoon, Dundee United three days later and Celtic on January 3.
Bougherra had said: “I have asked the coach of Algeria if I can stay to play in the Old Firm match.
“I want to be there for these important games for Rangers. I am waiting for the response; I don’t know what he will say.”