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’
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”
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.