TOM Lawrence has seen first hand just how important Connor Goldson is to Rangers both on and off the park since joining the Ibrox club back in 2022 and is not at all surprised the centre half is poised to make his 300th appearance this weekend.

“To play that many games here is a massive achievement,” said Lawrence as he looked ahead to the cinch Premiership meeting with third-placed Hearts in Govan on Saturday. “He’s been a great servant to the club and he’s a really good addition to our squad.

“Connor’s a great guy, a good character, a leader. He’ll help you out if you need any help. Any new player coming into the club he’ll try to help as much as he can. His performances on the pitch are like that as well. Hopefully he can do a lot more than 300.”

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Yet, the midfielder, who has put his injury problems firmly behind him since play restarted after the winter break last month and helped Philippe Clement’s team to win seven games, believes that every player is currently contributing to the Rangers’ cause.

And the Welsh internationalist has emphasised that collective responsibility must continue if the Viaplay Cup champions are to do well in the Premiership, Scottish Gas Scottish Cup and Europa League in the coming months.

Lawrence came off the bench against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park in Perth on Sunday and helped the visitors to record a 3-0 victory that sent them above Celtic and into top spot in the league table for the first time in two years. 

The 30-year-old feels that, with a punishing run of fixtures coming up at home and abroad in the weeks ahead, every single member of the squad will have to be ready to perform at their very best when they are called on. 

Rangers Review: “Connor’s experience has definitely been important for us,” he said. “But it’s driven by everyone. It’s not just a certain group of people, it’s everyone that helps to drive the standards. I think everyone can see from the outside that inside the dressing room we’re all together. That is how it should be.

“I knew Lunny [John Lundstram] before I came here. I played with Lunny when I was seven years old [in the Everton academy]. So that was someone I knew before coming here. But when you sign here you have different relationships with each player.”

Lawrence continued: “You’re always going to get difficult parts of the season. From here to the end of the season, there will be ups, there will be downs. But you’ve got to stay professional and drive those standards each day.

“If you watch us in the training pitch every day, we all demand our own standards no matter who it is. Whether it’s your first day training with us or you’ve been here for two or three years, you’ve got to demand those standards.

“You can’t drop your standards because everyone will pick up on it. So everyone has to be at the top of their game in every training session. Look, it works when you’re doing that. It gets taken into a game. It works for getting results.”

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Cyriel Dessers certainly knows that he has to be on top of his game up front whenever he gets the nod from Clement at the moment with Wolves loanee Fabio Silva now vying with him for a place in the starting line-up.

However, the Nigerian striker certainly seems to have responded well to the presence of the Portuguese forward, who Wolves bought from Porto for a cool £35m four years ago, as he has been on target five times in eight appearances in 2024.

Lawrence, who poses a threat going forward himself despite being deployed in a deep-lying role by Clement since returning from the muscle strain he picked up against Hearts at Tynecastle in early December, always expected the £4.5m summer signing to come good. 

“We saw the quality of Cyriel when he first came in,” he said. “I think with any striker it’s just about confidence. When you start scoring you’re going to have that confidence and belief in yourself and I think that’s what he’s shown.

“Confidence is just goals. Once you start scoring goals as a striker your confidence just grows and you become like, there’s a bigger presence about you, and I think he’s shown that, I think he’s been brilliant lately.”

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Lawrence, who netted an important goal for Rangers in the Champions League play-off double header against Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven last season, is looking forward to returning to continental competition next month.

The Ibrox club, who beat Real Betis 3-2 in Spain back in December to top Group C, will find out who they will play in the last 16 of the Europa League when the draw is made in Nyon in Switzerland tomorrow.

The prospect of being pitted against the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton, Liverpool, Villarreal or West Ham is an exciting one for supporters – but the former Manchester United, Leicester City and Derby County man is only concerned with beating Hearts this weekend.

Clement has repeatedly stressed that the next game is all that he is thinking about and Lawrence has fully embraced that mantra.

“To be honest with you, I’m not even thinking about the Europa League draw,” he said. “We’ve got a game on the weekend and that’s the main focus. We carry on going game by game and hopefully it takes us in the right direction.”