Connor Goldson and Ben Davies shone against Betis? Here’s why…

Connor Goldson and Ben Davies shone against Betis? Here’s why…
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Ben Davies of Rangers celebrates after the team's first goal, scored by Abdallah Sima (not pictured) during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 match between Rangers FC and Real Betis at Ibrox Stadium on September 21, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A lot of curiosity and optimism over Thursday’s performance remains in the air from Rangers fans, puzzled why we can do it v Betis and Servette, we guess, but fall short against the dire Celtic or even worse Killie.

How come Connor Goldson and indeed Ben Davies both look like decent defenders v Betis, but are frankly horrible against the bulk of the SPL.

Well there’s a simple reason why these guys do well in the Europa League, but not so much elsewhere, why they arguably shone against the Spaniards but were pitiful v PSV and abysmal in the league.


Because the Europa League is equivalent to Championship and upper League One in England level, while the Champions League is more like the Premier League.

And where are both Davies and Goldson from? That’s right, the Championship.

Let’s not overblow what Rangers did on Thursday – it was ultimately a good win against a hardy and well-managed side, but Goldson, Davies and others are basically English Championship-level players, and the Europa League, especially against the lesser sides in it, is more or less about the same level.

It is not a strong tournament, it’s an ok one, and it’s one where Rangers have been to the final twice in a couple of decades. It’s the level Rangers and Celtic are at, not the Premier League-esque Champions League.

Look how Joe Aribo went from thriving in the SPL and Europa League, to absolutely crashing in the Premier League with Southampton. Ditto Bassey, couldn’t handle Ajax after shining so well for Rangers in the Europa, and has also struggled at Fulham.

Rangers do know how to win in the Europa, we’re very experienced at that level, and Goldson, Davies and many other players we have are comfortable there because it’s their level.

SPL? Well, it’s a much tougher league physically – remember how Praha hatchet jobbed our players a few seasons back, much like SPL players, and we couldn’t handle it? They bullied us off the park.

We struggle with that physical football – any strong side will have a good day against us.

But those kind of sides aren’t plentiful in the UEL.

Rangers could have some good results at this level this season.

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  1. Agreed a lot of teams are Championship level in E.L but Betis had world cup winners in the team and a lot of other top level players. Im not one to stick up for Goldson and Davies, i would rather Souttar and Balogun, but the team did get a gd result against a good team. Mabay not Barca level but they still managed to qualify for Europe in La Liga.

  2. Plenty of Championship sides have fully-fledged England internationals in them, and Betis have one world cup winner. But this article isn’t attacking Betis? It’s pointing out there’s a difference in style between handling UEL sides, UCL, and SPL. One of those we’re good at, two of them we’re not.

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