IT appears any hope Rangers had of forcing a postponement of the rescheduled Celtic clash in February has been shattered.

The derby match was moved to February 2, from January 2, after the SPFL brought the winter break forward to begin after today's matches.

And the shift in fixture scheduling left Giovanni van Bronckhorst sweating over Bassey, Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun's availability for the Old Firm clash.

However, SPFL rule G7 was a possible lifeline to Ibrox chiefs as it allows clubs to request postponement if three or more players are unavailable through international competition.

There was no guarantee the request would be granted, especially with the fixture list already congested and no wriggle room for further fixture swaps according to SPFL chief Neil Doncaster.

But it was a possible avenue which could, if granted, have allowed for Rangers' Nigerian international to be back for the Glasgow derby.

However, Bassey has been left out of the AFCON squad meaning it's just Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun heading to Cameroon for the tournament next month.

That looks to have left any postponement appeal under rule G7 doomed with just two players on international duty.

It means while Bassey will be available for the Old Firm, Balogun and Aribo will miss out should Nigeria progress far enough in the competition.

SPFL rule G7 states: "A Club shall be entitled to apply to the Board for the postponement of any Official Match where three or more of its Players who would otherwise have participated in such match are unavailable through international selection and, following receipt of such an application, the Board may postpone and rearrange the relevant Official Match in accordance with Rule G3."