Vil­lain or vic­tim?

Goldson says play­ers were ‘ sucked in’ to trou­ble by Scott Brown at Celtic Park as Len­non claims Rangers have a ‘ huge dis­ci­plinary prob­lem’

The Scotsman - - WEEKEND SPORT - Stephen Hal­l­i­day

Con­nor Gol ds o n b e l i e ve s Rangers were “sucked in” by Celtic cap­tain Scott Brown when t hey l ost both t heir heads and any real prospect of win­ning the ti­tle in the last Old Firm en­counter.

As he pre­pares for the fi­nal meet­ing of the Glas­gow ri­vals at Ibrox to­mor­row, Goldson in­sists he and his team- mates will be both wiser and bet­ter as a con­se­quence of their painful 2- 1 de­feat at Celtic Park at the end of March.

Rangers fin­ished that af­ter­noon with ten men af­ter top scorer Al­fredo More­los was sent off for re­tal­i­at­ing to a clip on the heels from Brown, whi l e wi n g e r Rya n Ke n t copped a t wo- match ret­ro­spec­tive ban for lash­ing out at the Celtic skip­per.

“Truth­fully, and peo­ple won’t l i ke me say­ing this, but he [ Brown] has been very clever that day,” re­flected Goldson.

“Peo­ple will say why don’t we do it but, re­al­is­ti­cally, it’s not right to do. At the same time, he ben­e­fit­ted his t eam by do­ing it and, as I said, we were in­ex­pe­ri­enced.

“We shouldn’t get sucked in by that and, on that day, we did. It’s just some­thing we have to learn from and not let it hap­pen again be­cause it hurt us.

“There’s al­ways go­ing to be stuff go­ing on i n Old Firm games from both teams. Last time, we were in­ex­pe­ri­enced and we acted as i nex­pe­ri­enced.

“We’re a young team and, in the end, it cost us and you can’t af­ford to do that. The game is hard enough with 1 1 men, never mind with ten. When you play against good sides, we can’t do it with ten men. It makes the job so much harder.

“Who­ever the player may be, if you are left with ten, it makes

the game twice as hard. That is ac­tu­ally why we took some praise from the last Old Firm game be­cause it is very rare you lose one and get praise. In the sec­ond half we were mag­nif­i­cent to a man.

“I don’t know if you can call it frus­trat­ing be­cause it was our own fault. It’s our team and it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity. We made the mis­takes on that day as a team and as a club that we have got to learn from.”

Rangers go into their penul­ti­mate fix­ture of the sea­son nine points be­hind cham­pi­ons Celtic, hav­ing se­cured both their high­est points to­tal and league fin­ish since their re­turn to the top flight three years ago.

But while Goldson is con­vinced they are on the right track un­der Steven Ger­rard’s

man­age­ment, he ac­cepts that the sea­son can­not be re­garded as suc­cess­ful.

“We know that, at this club, suc­cess is in the DNA,” added the big de­fender. “Ev­ery­one here ex­pects us to win tro­phies and be suc­cess­ful, so we’ve had a seas on where we f eel as though we have p r o g r e s s e d f r o m where we were last year but, at the same time, we haven’t won any­thing.

“We know play­ers have to be brought in that are qual­ity to bring us up to scratch to win­ning tro­phies. When you don’t win a tro­phy at a club like this, I feel as if you have failed.

“Yes we have pro­gressed and I don’t think any­one can

tell you other­wise. Ev­ery step we have pro­gressed, but we haven’t won any­thing. I feel this is now a mas­sive sum­mer for the foot­ball club to go and get the right play­ers, have a pre- sea­son with all of us and it’ll be a sec­ond year for a lot of us.

“As s o o n a s y o u sign here, it’s easy to re­alise what suc­cess would mean. You look around the train­ing ground and the num­bers are fright­en­ing. If you don’t buy into it, you won’t be here long. It’s a club that de­serves suc­cess, it craves it.

“Un­for­tu­nately this sea­son, we haven’t been able to do that, but we have two games to fin­ish the sea­son pos­i­tively

and, as I said, show we have come on as a team. Next sea­son, though, we know there are far big­ger tasks we have to achieve.”

Rangers will be with­out first- choice goal­keeper Al­lan Mcgre­gor to­mor­row be­cause of sus­pen­sion but Goldson has no fears over his deputy Wes Foder­ing­ham, pic­tured, be­ing called into ac­tion.

“H e ’s n o t y o u r t y p i c a l num­ber two goal­keeper,” said Goldson.

“He was Rangers’ num­ber one for three years and al­ways per­formed well. He’s prob­a­bly got more Old Firm ap­pear­ances than a lot of the boys here, so I ’m sure he’ll be ready. He’s a mag­nif­i­cent num­ber two to have and a great goal­keeper.”

“We’re a young team and, in the end, it cost us. The game is hard enough with 11 men never mind ten. When you play good sides, we can’t do it with ten men”

CON­NOR GOLDSON

0Celtic cap­tain Scott Brown mucks around dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at Len­nox­town as he and his team- mates pre­pare for to­mor­row’s fi­nal Old Firm match of the sea­son at Ibrox.

0 Scott Brown ex­changes words with Con­nor Goldson af­ter Celtic opened the scor­ing in the last Old Firm derby in March.

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