Speaking of defenders, as we have today, the return of Niko Katic inside weeks definitely is a welcome boost, but we do wonder just where the backline stands now, coupled with George Edmundson’s suspension and ignominy.
Ibrox Noise wanted to take a look at all five of our stoppers and see where things lay:
Pretty much always fit, been in very good form this season, won September POTM, and he’s the first choice. It’s simple. There’s little more to add here.
Fans turned on him following a tricky night in Lisbon despite his exemplary performances up till then, and he’s not as in fashion as he was. But as we demonstrated with the stats, despite the three goals, Helander was in fact Rangers’ most effective defender that night. He’s been great this season, but he made one or two gaffes in Portugal. Mercifully Steven Gerrard hasn’t disowned him like many supporters have, and he was back soon after. He’s very much still a first choice, and competes for the jersey.
He’s been smooth bar that dodgy performance v St Johnstone, and an near-OG v Benfica, and has pace, power, plus a good reading of the game. He’s not a flawless defender but right now he and Helander cycle for the jersey partnering Goldson. And it’s working.
This is where it gets interesting – he’s still suspended for his moment of stupidity, but was barely part of the first team before then anyway. He’s squad depth, but inescapably he’s just not of the level required. If he was, this manager would be using him way more. He may well go out in January.
The complete defender, Niko just needs to learn the subtle art of defending as well as ‘smashing’ everything as he likes to. But he will be back in a few weeks and we look forward to seeing the big Croat back in action.
The curious factor is Stevie wants four alpha defenders. Right now we have three, and theoretically we have five. It’s a position we’re well stocked up in, and we’ll be very interested in what happens once Edmundson and Katic are both fully available again.
Are we really going to have five players for two slots?
Good problems to have.