Borna Barisic must be feeling a little rejected by some Rangers fans. Following the rise of Calvin Bassey and the signing of John Souttar, the Croat has been thrown a little on the scrapheap by some fans who believe he isn’t up to it any more.
And there’s no denying that trip to Parkhead was extremely damaging to his stock among supporters, giving as he did the worst performance of his Rangers career, certainly since he became Borna 2.0.
But while it affected his confidence (inasmuch as he was abused by a portion of the support who aggressively turned on him that night) he didn’t just become a bad LB overnight, and Barisic remains a Rolls Royce player who is capable of playing at the highest levels.
It’s just that Bassey’s rise has changed the picture, and while the Nigerian’s crossing is certainly improving, it’s nowhere near yet at Barisic’s level and let’s not pretend the best crosser in the league and one of the best in Britain is now rank rotten.
His game, like captain James Tavernier’s, has changed a bit, and Barisic now defends more and advances less.
There’s also the fact Gio fits Bassey in at the left, and be it Helander or the now-departed Balogun in the middle or Barisic on the left, it’s the Croat and a CB who cycle for the slot next to Bassey, either on his left or on his right.
But don’t give up on Borna – another excellent showing for his country v France shows there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.
No one attempted more crosses on the pitch, and his passing level was a very respectable 82%. Just like for Gio at Ibrox, Borna spent most of his match as a defender with a healthy 4 successful defensive interventions, which was about midrange compared with his team mates.
What we’re saying is he’s still coming out of the toughest spell of his career, and he deserves support.
He is nowhere near finished, and the ugly reports dumping him in favour of Josh Tymon, including by supposed Rangers websites are more than a spot premature.
Consider Barisic a vital cog alongside Bassey and Souttar, not a dumped extra with no part to play.