There was a time when plenty claimed Rangers wouldn’t know what they’d got in Connor Goldson until the club’s vice-captain was gone.

The Gers stalwart has been a near ever-present ever since joining the club on a reported £3.5m deal from Brighton in 2018 and has been a pivotal figure at the heart of the defence over the last few seasons.

Rangers FC v Motherwell FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But despite Goldson’s immense influence – and his regular contributions both defensively and offensively – there have always been some murmurs of discontent in the Ibrox faithful.

It’s not like Rangers fans to have a good old moan, but as the club floundered on several domestic fronts it was their often reliable centre-back who caught the ire of fans.

However, as Rangers’ league season has all but collapsed in the defender’s absence, anyone who doubted the role Connor Goldson plays at Ibrox has been taught a lesson this campaign.

Connor Goldson proving himself priceless for Rangers

From the moment the defender was forcibly subbed off against Liverpool in the Champions League, things haven’t quite been the same.

The eventual 7-1 hammering in that match was a warning regarding what was to come without Connor Goldson in the team and since then a patchwork and injury-ravaged Rangers side has lost ground in the title race.

Nine points now separate Rangers and Celtic and despite those previous Goldson groans you’ll be hard-pressed to find many Rangers fans who don’t now believe things would be different had Connor been fit all season long.

In fact, despite transfer murmurings surrounding the likes of Ryan Porteous, Rangers remain well stocked in defence and a freak injury crisis involving Goldson, Ben Davies, John Souttar and Filip Helander has contributed to the feeling otherwise.

But when all four are fit Rangers do have strong options in the position, even if only one – the club’s vice-captain – is guaranteed a place.

Given the player’s immense contribution to Rangers in terms of minutes alone in recent seasons perhaps the 30-year-old was well overdue an injury.

But as Rangers fans have found out in recent weeks, their team is not the same without Connor Goldson and the defender’s recent goal and clean sheet against Motherwell only serves to highlight his influence.

Meanwhile, Rangers boss Michael Beale has a back-up plan if another injury rears its head ahead of the clash with Celtic.

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