Michael Beale welcomes Connor Goldson back to Rangers training ahead of cup semi
Michael Beale welcomed influential defender Connor Goldson back to training ahead of Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic at Hampden Park on Sunday.
The 30-year-old has missed the last three matches – two of which the Light Blues have lost – due to a hip problem.
Ryan Kent and Scott Wright have sat out the last two fixtures with injuries but they are also back in the frame ahead of the crucial clash with their Old Firm rivals.
The Ibrox boss said: “Connor trained today, Scott Wright and Ryan Kent trained today, so it is seeing if they come through OK.
“Obviously they have all been out for two or three weeks so we have competition. It is nice to have them back.
“Alex Lowry is back training now, he just missed out on the squad last week. I believe Adam Devine will probably train tomorrow but the game might come a little bit too soon for him.
“Centre-back has been the one position this year that has not been stable in the team.
“The centre-back position has had a lot of impact on our season – the amount of games Connor has missed this season compared to all the other seasons combined.
“He is our vice-captain, he is a big voice on the pitch and when he plays the results for the team, the points-per-game goes up. So it is nice to have him back.
“It has been great to have John Souttar in the last three or four weeks, at times he has performed well in the games.
“That gives us some strength. The most important thing for me is stability in the team in key positions; goalkeeper, centre-back and number nine and possibly this year it hasn’t been the case.”
With Celtic 13 points clear of Rangers at the top of the cinch Premiership with five post-split fixtures remaining, the Scottish Cup offers the holders the last realistic chance of silverware this season.
Since beating Celtic 2-1 in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final, the Light Blues have not won in five Old Firm games, three of them since Beale took over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November, the most recent of which was a 3-2 league defeat at Parkhead earlier in the month.
Beale said: “It is a huge game. We know that.
“This season has been a rough ride for the fans and this is a chance for us to right a few wrongs in this game.
“It is just one game but I think it would have a big impact on the season if we were to win and go back to the Scottish Cup final again.
“We just need to bring the best of ourselves.
“The games (against Celtic) have been reasonably tight and have been won and lost on mistakes so it is important that we bring our best effort and best performance.
“Again, the penalty boxes will be decisive. In the game a couple of weeks ago I thought we performed quite well overall but we just need to eradicate one or two things defensively.”
Beale revealed long-term injured defender Filip Helander, whose last game was just over a year ago against St Mirren, is still struggling.
The former QPR boss said: “Filip has a unique problem about his bone structure in his foot. He is away seeing a specialist.”