Rangers' McCulloch available for Old Firm

Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch will be eligible to play in Wednesday's Old Firm derby against Celtic, as his club has appealed his red card received Saturday against St Mirren.

McCulloch and teammate Dorin Goian were both sent off in the 2-1 loss against St Mirren, meaning they would each miss the top-of-the-table clash.

But after McCulloch appealed, he will be able to play, as the hearing will not be held before the match. McCulloch was shown the red card for an elbow to the face of Kenny McLean, but manager Ally McCoist felt it was a harsh decision.

The hearing will not take place until Jan. 5, allowing McCulloch to feature on Jan. 2 against Motherwell at Ibrox as well.

"My original thought was that it was a harsh decision," McCoist said, "and that has not changed.

Goian was sent off for two yellow card offenses and will miss the game against Celtic.

"It's not ideal but we have been through this kind of situation before and we need to handle it," McCoist said.

Rangers' lead atop the Scottish Premier League closed to just one point ahead of the derby, which will now be for first place in the standings.

Celtic has won eight straight league games during an 11-game unbeaten streak.

Also Wednesday, Aberdeen hosts Hearts, Hibernian hosts Inverness, Motherwell hosts Dunfermline, St. Johnstone hosts Kilmarnock, and St. Mirren hosts Dundee United.