By George Overhill

18th May, 2022 | 11:55pm

Calvin Bassey wows Ally McCoist and company with Rangers masterclass in Europa League final

Ally McCoist was at the head of a queue of BT Sport pundits to shower Rangers defender Calvin Bassey with praise during the Europa League final.

The young Nigerian held together the Gers backline repeatedly during the second half against Eintracht Frankfurt, especially with centre-back partner Connor Goldson looking shaky at times.

His recovery speed on a number of occasions was exceptional, and his commitment to the cause second to none in the heat of Seville.

After he backtracked and dispossessed Ansgar Knauff midway through the second half, BT Sport commentator Rory Hamilton said on the match coverage (9.30pm): “Well that was superb defending from Calvin Bassey.”

Ex-Bear Alex Rae added: “It was excellent, shows his strength and anticipation, brilliant.”

After another excellent intervention later on (9.49pm) Hamilton added that the defender “seems to come out on top in everything he does”.

Then in extra time he recovered from his own slip to somehow get back in time to put in a crucial block on Rafael Borre, leading pundit Stephen Craigen to say (10.10pm): “This is just a player full of confidence. He just believes no matter what he does it’s going to happen.

“It would have been easy to give that up and just hope he doesn’t score, but he has the mindset and mentality to go and chase it down.”

When Bassey yet again got back to thwart another chance for Knauff (10.14pm) Rae said: “I’m running out of superlatives for this guy, absolutely outstanding recovery for that young man… tremendous.”

On the gantry Bears legend McCoist was astounded following all this and said (10.22pm): “The first thing I’ve got to say is, Calvin Bassey has been absolutely phenomenal, immense… He has been a colossus this evening.”


He may only be 22 but Bassey was playing like a veteran defender who was carrying his whole team’s defensive performance.

Of all the players in this side, who have achieved so much on this European run, it feels most unfair that the performance he put during the final should go unrewarded.

Penalties are a cruel way to lose at the best of times, but after the Herculean effort that the Light Blues centre-back put in it will have been even harder for him to take.

It was only right that he was being lauded from all angles for his performance, it was just a shame that he and his teammates came away empty handed.

Ryan Kent had a wonderful chance to steal it at the death before the shoot-out but was somehow kept out by Kevin Trapp.

And with the overall quality of the penalties so high, once Aaron Ramsey’s dropped below that bar it felt like the game might be up.

Despite losing the league title across Glasgow, the achievement of overcoming a host of European heavyweights to reach this final deserves to be remembered.

They were good enough to win this game, and it will hurt for a long time that the finest of margins came between them and the trophy.

In other Rangers news, a Sky Sports pundit blasted Boris Johnson for getting involved ahead of the game.