It was less than a month ago that Jon Flanagan admitted that he would love to secure a new contract at Rangers, in comments reported by the Daily Record.
Flanagan has had a difficult time since moving to Ibrox. And he has fallen closer to the periphery of the squad this season with Borna Barisic enjoying an incredible transformation.
But James Tavernier’s recent injury problems looked set to present Flanagan with an opportunity ahead of the final months of his contract.
However, Flanagan’s most recent run in the team was very brief. He played 90 minutes against St Mirren last month before being replaced at the break after an underwhelming display against Hearts.
It was Matt Polster who replaced him at Tynecastle. And while Rangers would go on to lose that day, Polster staked a real claim to be Tavernier’s understudy.
The American provided the attacking intent that Flanagan has rarely offered. And it was no surprise that he kept his place ahead of the former Liverpool man for the following two fixtures.
And Steven Gerrard appears to have now confirmed that the Englishman is no higher than third in the right-back pecking order.
STV reports that Flanagan is one of the players to have been taken out of Rangers’s Europa League squad. And Polster has been added ahead of the tie with Braga.
With that in mind, it would be a huge surprise if Flanagan received enough of an opportunity to prove that he deserves a new contract.
Tavernier looks to be nearing a return, and Polster has impressed. Meanwhile, academy prospect Nathan Patterson was arguably Rangers’s best player in their Scottish Cup win over Stranraer.
Of course, there is still some way to go before the campaign concludes. And Barisic’s turnaround may leave Flanagan with some hope that he may get another chance.
But perhaps it would be fair to say that Gerrard’s squad decision for the Europa League is the biggest indication yet that Flanagan’s hopes of earning a new deal are fading.