Rangers manager Ally McCoist is facing one of his ``worst scenarios'' in terms of injuries ahead of tomorrow's William Hill Scottish Cup tie against Forres Mechanics.
The Light Blues boss could be without five key players for the long trip to the Highlands ahead of the second-round clash.
Francisco Sandaza is expected to be out of action for the rest of the year after suffering a broken cheekbone during the midweek Scottish Communities League Cup win against Motherwell.
Dean Shiels and Ian Black are doubtful for the cup game and David Templeton and Andy Little remain on the sidelines.
For McCoist, it is the situation he feared when he failed to recruit as many new players as he had hoped for ahead of last month's transfer deadline, with the club now restricted by a 12-month signing embargo.
He said: ``You plan for the worst scenario if you can and this is one of our worst scenarios.
``We have to react to it and adapt to it and we will do that.
``We knew that this would be a possibility. We knew with the transfer window coming up that it was important to strengthen and get bodies in.
``Unfortunately, we didn't manage to do that but we're going to have to get on with it.
``The flip side of the coin is that the younger boys who have come in have been wonderful, a breath of fresh air. That's something that's really positive at the moment for the club.''
As much as he has been impressed by youngsters Barrie McKay, Lewis Macleod, Robbie Crawford and Fraser Aird, McCoist does not want to see his injury woes escalate with any more experienced players in the treatment room.
He added: ``That would be a nightmare scenario and one we hope we're not faced with.
``I'm looking to win the game tomorrow and then we've got a tough league game where we can hopefully get a result too.
``Then, we've got a little bit of time because it's the international week.
``It's crazy to think that I'm looking to get an international week for the boys to get them back fresh but that's where we are.
``Sandaza will be out until around Christmas but I would hope Templeton, Little, Black and Shiels can improve over the next 10 days or two weeks.
``It would be a big concern if we got any more injuries.''
Sandaza required surgery following a sickening clash of heads with Motherwell's Shaun Hutchinson during the 2-0 victory.
McCoist said: ``First and foremost, it's a blow for Fran himself.
``I've been up to see him in hospital a couple of times and I'm just gutted for the lad.
``It's an horrendous facial injury - certainly as bad as I've ever seen on a football park. He's in a bit of a mess.
``The most important thing is Fran's health and that he gets himself back to good health where he can play and train.
``Having seen him and spoken to the doctors and surgeons, that's certainly going to be longer term than shorter term because he's had a real sore one.''
Rangers have yet to pick up a win on the road in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season.
But McCoist has demanded a repeat of their efforts against Motherwell when they travel to Mosset Park tomorrow.
He said: ``I thought the players put in arguably their best performance of the season on Wednesday.
``We have played the top of the SPL and we are now going to play a Highland League team so the most important thing is that the attitude has to be the exact same.
``When we used to play in fantastic stadiums - whether it was Ibrox, the Bernabeu or Wembley - we were very fortunate to play in them, but as soon as the first whistle went, you didn't look around at where you were playing.
``It should be the exact same whether it's SFL3 or the Highland League. You can't play all your games in the top stadiums in the world.
``Once the referee blows his whistle at the start of the game, that's it. It doesn't matter where the venue is - you get on with the game.
``That will have to be the case tomorrow. Our mental approach has to be spot on.''