With Filip Helander’s untimely injury, one man is starting to shine unexpectedly and was by a distance Rangers’ best performer v Lyon.
It’s fitting then, that he has the same name as the opponent, as Leon Balogun stood out notably among Rangers’ mostly poor defending as being by far the strongest man in the backline.
Having won fans over with his stellar RB display v Celtic, this was another impressive showing in his more customary CB position, and while it wasn’t the ghost of Baresi, he was infinitely more solid than anyone else and showed his intent early on with a spot of real guts that were missing from most others.
Balogun’s CV is without question – Bundesliga, international, Championship – Balogun is an experienced campaigner, and Ibrox Noise ‘jumped the gun’ a little on his first season declaring him the SPL’s best defender.
Before he predictably got injured.
And that’s what’s held the 33-year old back – persistent niggles and breaking down repeatedly.
But this season has so far seen his longest run of sustained fitness and with Filip Helander now out, the Nigerian’s ability to remain healthy is going to be critical.
Is he the best stopper in the SPL? It’s clear Rangers have all three, in him, Helander and Goldson. Celtic are completely unproven.
But Balogun has shone this campaign, and is showing just why he’s been around and while he’s a regular for his country as well as a former Bremen regular.
If he can stay fit, Helander’s absence is not the cripple it may have appeared, and we’re in safer hands than we feared.