Connor Goldson feels fellow Rangers defender Borna Barisic is thriving because the Light Blues have learnt to play to his strengths.
The Croatia left-back set up Rangers’ goal in a 1-1 Europa League draw with Porto when he delivered a brilliant first-time cross right into the feet of Alfredo Morelos, who finished in style.
The same combination early in the second half almost earned the Gers victory in Portugal but Morelos was denied by an excellent save as he headed down the Croatian’s cross.
Steven Gerrard signed Barisic last summer after being impressed by the full-back during Rangers’ qualifying win over Osijek but the 26-year-old had an underwhelming debut campaign in Glasgow.
However, he has gone from strength to strength in the opening months of this season.
Goldson said: “We are starting to use him more efficiently and more how he likes to play.
“We all know he is an attacking full-back from how he played against us last year. The higher up we can get him and hit him, we know he can put in the kind of crosses that he did.
“He put in two wonderful crosses, one he got an assist from and one the goalkeeper has made an unbelievable save.
“We are just trying to utilise him as well as we can.
“He has had a good run of games and I feel he has got his rhythm now. I just said to him in there that I feel like we are starting to get the Osijek Borna Barisic who, over the two legs, caused us a lot of problems. I feel he is starting to produce that now week in, week out.
“We always knew he had the ability to do that. Listen, he is not Croatia’s national left-back for no reason, he has a high amount of quality and he’s starting to show it week in, week out.”
A 10th European goal of the season for El Bufalo 🐃
Clinical from the Colombian! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/BFx0qoHL72
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 24, 2019
Another defender who showed his quality in Porto after a slow start to his Rangers career was Filip Helander.
The Sweden international had a torrid time in a Betfred Cup tie at Livingston last month and since then his only appearance had been in the 2-1 defeat by Young Boys.
But the summer signing from Bologna more than vindicated his recall in the Estadio do Dragao with a commanding display.
“I thought he did really well, it was a top performance from him,” Goldson said. “We got made to defend for good periods in the game and I thought we defended well.
“Their goal was a wonder strike, there is nothing you can do about that. But in general we minimised their chances.”
Goldson added: “We knew before the game if we wanted to get out the group we needed some form of result. This keeps us in the mix. The point gives us a chance with two more home games.”