Rangers defender Connor Goldson backs John Souttar to be ‘unbelievable signing’ ahead of Champions League qualifier

Connor Goldson is adamant his new Rangers defensive partner John Souttar will bounce back and prove his quality after the Scotland international was heavily criticised following a chastening competitive debut away to Livingston.

The ex-Hearts and Dundee United player was at

fault for the Lions’ opener on Saturday and generally struggled before being substituted in the second half as Rangers fought back to win 2-1.

Fellow centre-back Goldson was disappointed by the online backlash against Souttar, but he has no doubts that his colleague will emerge as an asset for the Europa League runners-up.

“I’ve been really, really impressed by him from the first week that he trained after we came back from Portugal,” said Goldson.

“I was disappointed on Saturday because I saw a few things on the internet and things like that, people obviously talking bad just because he’s had one game where he probably made a few mistakes.

“We’ve all been there, I’ve been there myself. I’ve been written off plenty of times by Rangers fans but I see him every single day and see the qualities he has so I have no doubts at all he’s going to be an unbelievable signing for this football club.

“He’s an international player who’s 25 and has played however many games in Scottish football already. We know what we signed. He’s joined Rangers which we all know comes with pressure but you can’t judge people off one game.

“Livingston away is obviously not the easiest place to go with the (plastic) pitch and the way they play but we’ve all seen his quality and I’ve actually been more impressed just seeing him in training than what I thought of him from playing against Hearts.

“I knew he was a good player but everything he does is so crisp with the ball and he throws himself in front of things. He’s a great defender.”

Kent misses Rangers’ CL qualifier | Winner to face Monaco or PSV

Rangers kick off their European campaign on Tuesday with a Champions League third qualifying round first-leg match away to Union Saint-Gilloise – with the winner to face Monaco or PSV Eindhoven in the play-offs.

Winger Ryan Kent did not travel with the squad to Belgium after picking up an injury at Livingston, however, Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst revealed both Rabbi Matondo and Ridvan Yilmaz will be available for the tie.

Former Besiktas left-back Yilmaz arrived in Glasgow on Saturday and took part in a full session, as he aims to make an instant impact against the Belgium side.

New signing Matondo is also fit to travel after missing Saturday’s Scottish Premiership opener.

Van Bronckhorst said: “I’ve played many times in the Champions League and have coached in it, one of the strongest competitions in the world and it would be fantastic for us to be involved. We have four important games and we will try everything.

“What we did really well last season was to always enter the second game with an opportunity to go through. We have had good preparation as we are up against a very good side and we now have to execute our game plan.”

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Author: Arnold Watts