By Peter Lynch

30th Apr, 2023 | 12:53pm

Ally McCoist thrilled with 'massive' Rangers team news ahead of Scottish Cup clash v Celtic

Ally McCoist is thrilled with the “massive” news that Rangers boss Michael Beale has chosen to start Connor Goldson for the Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Celtic on Sunday (30 April).

The defender has missed his club’s last three Scottish Premiership matches with injury, which includes the 3-2 loss to the Bhoys earlier this month.

He partners Ben Davies in defence for the huge encounter with fierce rivals Celtic at Hampden Park, with a spot in the final against Inverness up for grabs.

Speaking on Viaplay 1 on Sunday (30 April, 12:34pm), McCoist said: “It’s massive. Martin [O’Neill] and I were talking about Goldson before and I said he has to play – and it’s crazy to say it – even if he’s not 100 per cent fit.

“This fixture is vitally important, so important that you have to play him. It’s a real boost for Rangers because he makes the team better – simple as. They’re defensively better when he plays.”

Huge boost

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Rangers have definitely missed defender Goldson in recent times, with the Gers conceding six goals in the three league matches that he missed through injury.

Celtic, St Mirren and Aberdeen all put two goals past the Gers in their recent encounters, with the loss to the Bhoys in particular showing how vital Goldson is as John Souttar and Davies struggled at the back against a strong Celtic attack.

The returning Goldson will now provide some much-needed stability for what will be another very difficult test against Ange Postecoglou’s men, whose forwards Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Jota will once again be a real threat from the very start.

There will be plenty of battles all over the pitch at Hampden, but the game could be won if Goldson and his partner Davies keep the Celtic attack relatively quiet.

Goldson has proven to be one of Michael Beale’s most important players this season, but it is certainly a huge risk from the manager to start the centre-back given his recent injury struggles.

In other Rangers news, BBC journalist Tom English believes the Gers board have big and painful decisions to make on the futures of two key stars.