If one thing has been clear the past season and a half, it’s that Borna Barisic, Rangers’ world class Croatian left back, has settled wonderfully into life outside his homeland, and the 28-year old is considered one of the club’s marquee assets.
But there’s a lesser-known fact about the former Osijek man that may actually shock many Rangers supporters, and it’s a real eye opener:
Borna Barisic, unlike every single significant first-team member of the Rangers squad, has NEVER scored for this club in open play.
That’s right, all four of his goals have been direct free kicks, and the last time he scored in open play at all was a close-range finish for his country in March last year. The last time he scored in open play for any club? July 2018 for Osijek in the match directly before he came to Rangers’ attention.
Regulars to this site will know we’re massive admirers of Barisic – he’s a world class left back, as good as any in the UK, and 28 assists in 85 career outings at Ibrox shows the man makes a telling contribution.
But if there’s one area of his game he could do a little better in, it’s finding the back of the net himself.
The direct free kicks are wonderful, and he has four Rangers goals through those, but from open play as a scorer he contributes nothing.
Indeed, we noticed this v United, because he actually attempted a rare open play shot, which was wild at best.
But yes, that Barisic scores none in open play isn’t the end of the world. Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson contributes borderline heehaw in that vein himself, and he’s widely viewed as one of the best left backs in the world.
And of course we have the freak on the other side who is destroying goal scoring records and stats like it’s going out of fashion, so it’s certainly a little unfair in a way.
It’s really not the end of the world. But it is perhaps a little surprising.