While James Tavernier, Steven Davis and Allan McGregor are currently the front-runners for Rangers’ POTY and rightly so, there’s another man in blue who has recently received the credit he’s deserved after turning his Rangers career around from ‘divisive’ to ‘indispensable’.
Rangers indeed honoured him as the record-breaking fastest player in the club’s history to achieve 150 appearances, which shows as much his dedication to this club and availability as it does consistency.
Yes, we’re of course referring to Connor Goldson, who has been the model of steady this season, a campaign which has evidently been the season of the defender’s life.
Goldson took 18 months out of football through heart surgery, wondering if he’d ever play again, and fearing indeed for his life at one point too given the implications of the discovered defect, and it’s safe to say the big man has made up for lost time by arguably being the most consistent and regular player in top flight football maybe in the last three years.
But there’s something else, something almost more important about Goldson’s ever-present nature, something which makes him absolutely indispensable.
Connor Goldson is absolutely critical to how Rangers play, how Steven Gerrard plays – he is Rangers’ Virgil Van Dijk, and without his calm playing from the back, without his reading of the game and incessant clearances, Rangers simply wouldn’t be able to play the way Stevie G wants us to.
Take Goldson out of the team and while the side can still win, and indeed has only lost once without him in the XI (at Killie in early 2019) the play style Stevie wants just isn’t there.
Goldson is absolutely essential to building from the back – how often have we seen Allan McGregor taking a goal kick?
Basically since he came back, barely once.
It is always played from the back, with Goldson at the centre of that.
His possession stats are always massive, and his passing rate colossal – like Steven Davis in front of him, he uses the ball well, and generally rarely loses it.
And that’s so important to how Rangers move the ball and build from the back – Goldson is forever giving it to Tavernier outside him, or Davis in front or Helander et al next to him – that possession play is Rangers’ game.
Take him away, and Rangers would really struggle to sustain the form over long periods.
In the way Virgil Van Dijk’s injury was a part of how Liverpool’s season was wrecked, the loss of Goldson would have had a similar impact on Rangers.
We see now why he’s indispensable, and he really is being respected in the support in a way he never used to.
Well earned Connor.