As Rangers fell to their second defeat in five Scottish Premiership matches at Rugby Park, the spotlight quickly turned to the side’s woeful defensive exploits for both of Kilmarnock’s goals.

The Ayrshire side capitalised on some tragic attempts at defensive clearances for Stephen O’Donnell’s equaliser, whilst Connor Goldson risked the ire of Rangers fans for allowing Eamonn Brophy to steal in for the winner.

Rangers’ slack defensive displays have been a continuing problem in the early part of 2020, but is much of this down to an injury to a £3m [RangersTV] summer signing from Serie A?

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Filip Helander hasn’t been seen since the League Cup Final against Celtic. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Filip Helander is a Swedish international and spent the three years prior to joining Rangers martialing some of the best attackers in world football in Italy.

Despite being caught out for pace on occasion, the big defender has shown his class and experience in the Europa League whilst domestically he was beginning to show his quality at both ends of the pitch.

A late winner against Motherwell was followed by the opening goal in the Hampden League Cup semi-final against Hearts and his leadership qualities were developing into an asset for the side.

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Helander was last seen in the Betfred Cup Final against Celtic where he was forced off with an injury in the frustrating cup loss in December.

Helander has 11 caps for the Swedish national team. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Getty Images)

Since then, Steven Gerrard has gone on to say Helander had sustained “quite a rare” foot injury which has since kept him out of the side [Daily Record].

 

Earlier this week Gerrard said he hoped to have the big defender back by the end of February and that Rangers have “certainly missed him” [Glasgow Times].

In the meantime, Rangers have been forced to rely on the youthful exploits of Nikola Katic and George Edmundson, both of whom are recognised to be a work in progress by the club.

Connor Goldson has also had to retake the mantle of the experienced head at the back and this has clearly had an impact on the big defender’s form since the restart.

The big defender, 26, had particularly begun to show his class in the Europa League. (Photo by Paulo Oliveira / DPI / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

You don’t splash out £3m on centre back in Scotland without the intention of him playing and as Helander began to get used to the Scottish game you could see his role developing.

The former Bologna defender has also managed 10 clean sheets in his 17 starts for Rangers so far.

Is the big Swedish international’s absence one of the reasons why the Ibrox side’s defending has looked particularly flustered in the last few weeks?

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