RANGERS believe that Annan Athletic's artificial pitch had a part to play in the injury that will keep David Templeton sidelined for the next month at least.

The former Hearts winger was stretchered off 10 minutes into Saturday's goalless draw at Galabank and, although initial fears of a broken leg proved unfounded, Templeton is expected to be out for at least five weeks with ankle ligament damage.

Such dismay was echoed by striker Fran Sandaza, who has compared playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division to being "like a war" and has urged the Rangers players to adjust their style of play accordingly. The Ibrox side are yet to record a victory in three away games in the league.

"The third division is not football, at least away from home," said the Spaniard. "It's more physical, more hard tackles. Much more of the play is balls over the top. It's more like a war, at least it was on Saturday. We have to win these wars. It isn't football the way it is at Ibrox or in SPL games. But we have to realise this is where we are."

Where they are is a league in which Annan installed a £600,000 third generation artificial pitch over the summer; a surface that the Rangers medical staff believe contributed, at least in part, to Templeton's injury.

"The ankle is not broken but it is pretty bad," manager Ally McCoist said. "He has ligament damage and only time will tell if that is worse or not – at least with a break you know where you are. He will have another scan to see how severe the damage is when the swelling goes down.

"I would probably settle for [Templeton being out for] a month but I think it will be longer. The boy was nowhere near him, he just got his studs caught in the surface. The doctor did say the pitch definitely played a part in it but I don't know how much. As those surfaces go it looked all right but whether we should be playing on them is a different argument."

McCoist is not a advocate of artificial pitches but can understand why they have proven popular. "I'm not going to start an anti-plastic pitch campaign because we have four teams in our league who use them," he said. "We have two artificial facilities here, and I don't ask older players to use it. That would give you an indication as to what my views are on it.

"But, at the same time, I fully appreciate why clubs use them because of the use to the wider communities."