Rangers will be looking to return to winning ways tonight as Gio van Bronckhorst’s Gers side aim to avoid drawing for the third successive Premiership match.
The Ibrox giants have been unable to pick up all three points in both of their last two outings in the league and now have the opportunity to put things right as they return to action this evening.
Van Bronckhorst’s men are three points off the top of the table and are in desperate need of positive results to take them above their arch-rivals.
One change that the Dutchman must make for their clash with St Johnstone is bringing in Leon Balogun to play at the heart of the backline.
The £14k-per-week Nigerian must replace John Lundstram at the heart of the defence after the experiment of playing the latter in a back four against Motherwell backfired badly. The Englishman was caught out positionally and then burned for pace for the first goal for the away side in the 2-2 draw, with his lack of experience in the position being exposed on the day.
Former Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard claimed that Balogun plays with a “smile on his face” for the Gers and that shines through in his performances. Former Light Blues full-back Alan Hutton once dubbed him “outstanding”, and his statistics this season back up that praise.
In the Rangers squad, the Nigeria international ranks ninth in the Premiership and second in the Europa League for average SofaScore ratings. This suggests that he has been one of the club’s top performers in 2021/22, which is why he must be brought back into the starting XI for tonight to replace Lundstram, whose error at the weekend proved that he is not a viable option at centre-back.
In the Premiership, Balogun has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.06. He has made 3.3 tackles and interceptions per game whilst winning 64% of his duels overall, as he has shown that he the ability to be a standout performer at this level.
The strong 33-year-old tank must now be unleashed on St Johnstone to give Rangers a better chance of keeping a clean sheet, in comparison to keeping Lundstram out of position. Van Bronckhorst must start the veteran alongside Goldson, with the pair providing a solid defensive base for the forward players to go and work their magic in the final third to secure the three points.