We’ve never known a Rangers defender to split opinion more than Connor Goldson. Some love him, some can’t stand him, and some aren’t sure.
What Ibrox Noise does know is that if we compare Goldson with alpha defenders of the past under great Rangers sides, he doesn’t even come close.
Think about Butcher, Gough, MacPherson, Boumsong, Weir, Cuellar – Goldson couldn’t hold a candle to these guys.
There is a very good reason Connor Goldson only ever made 4 Premier League appearances for Brighton, and it wasn’t down to heart surgery. In fact, even before his condition was detected, he was only a benchwarmer for Brighton in the Championship as well.
In short, when we think about the ones who we mention above, they are completely in a different class to Goldson. Even Lorenzo Amoruso held his own in the Champions League aside one horrible backpass v Monaco. And Sotirios Kyrgiakos was named in the team of the group stage back in the day. A very underrated defender the Greek.
This is not to say, though, that Goldson is bad – he’s just not the alpha level of the past that had Rangers as champions.
He is absolutely miles off being Cameron Carter-Vickers, who bears some similarities to our ex-defender Calvin Bassey. Big, strong, quick, but in the American’s case, a much better reading of play and much better positional sense.
Goldson isn’t bad, he is not a rotten defender – but he falls a fair bit short of being a Gough, Butcher, a Cuellar or a Weir.
Now, this takes us back to the old arguments Rangers fans used to have about how ‘great’ Wes Foderingham was.
Wes these days is peaking and he’s evolved as a goalie, to be a lot stronger in the Championship. Goalies do peak later.
But in his Rangers days he was just an average goalie playing for a gigantic club in a strange period of our history. Once McGregor came back, not a peep of support in favour of Foderingham was heard again and Rangers fans learned what a great goalie was like.
Goldson is kind of like Wes. We’re just used to that standard, that we’re bigging him up as much better than he actually is.
He’s not up there with our greats of the past, and there’s no shame in that.
Some may bring in the Liverpool fallacy, whereby when he went off we went to pieces – but Ibrox Noise has pointed out that his absence wasn’t the issue, the injuries and lack of rotation was. That if we’d had a few defenders who played regularly, we’d have had a guy on the bench ready to take his place, as John Souttar has recently. Instead we brought Leon King on who was 18 and had never played beside Ben Davies. No wonder we got slaughtered.
It’s actually our honest belief Souttar is the superior defender – he’s been impressive when he’s played, but Goldson seems to be the untouchable golden boy.
Is Souttar what we need? Not necessarily, but he’s a better defender than Goldson, as we demonstrated with a stats comparison of both players’ Old Firm performances.
The truth is we need a real hike in quality – maybe Souttar is good enough, we don’t know, but we are not convinced Connor Goldson has it in him to be up there with our great defenders of the past.
No real shame in that.