Four days on and we still have not addressed what, in many ways, was the biggest revelation at Dens Park. It wasn’t the flares, the performance, it wasn’t even the result. It wasn’t EVEN both Lammers and Dessers having fantastic evenings!
No, it was, of course, the return of the best defender at Rangers, Leon Balogun, taking his big chance on the night and absolutely crushing it.
It was a complete delight to see the Nigerian back in defence, a top, top stopper who shut a lot of detractors of Ibrox Noise’s views up given how the ex-Werder man bossed it at the back.
It was as if he had never been away, and all those attributes we talk about on Ibrox Noise, his pace, his power, his aerial prowess, his physique, his size, and the fact he reads the game so well were all on show as the ex-Wigan man strutted his stuff with utter ease.
The fact he made the opening goal only highlighted how great he actually is, and it’s our contention that Leon Balogun is the best defender in the country when he’s fit, and by a distance at that. Yes, even better than Vickers over ‘there’, because he has colossal height and is even bigger than the American, who we admit is a good stopper too.
Vickers might have 11 years on him age-wise, but Balogun has seen it all, done it all, played at many of the highest levels and strolled them. Ok, he’s not played the Premier League or Champions League proper, but he’s got world cup and German Bundesliga on his CV, and did not bad thank you.
In short, he’s exceptional, a very good defender, but a very bad injury history. If he can stay fit a bit more, he’s a real contender to play a lot.
He was absolutely thrilled to get 90 minutes midweek, given another injury set him back, and at 35 obviously he isn’t going to get much younger now, but Rangers could do so much worse than having a classy stalwart like he in the squad for seasons to come.
Philippe Clement put him back in the minute he was fit, and Balogun demonstrated why. He very much took his chance.
It’s up to Big Phil if he deems Leon fit enough tomorrow, if he wants to keep the big man at the back, but clearly he’s up to the task.