Micky Mellon talks up former protege Connor Goldson ahead of Rangers clash

Micky Mellon reckons the return of top scorer Lawrence Shankland has given Dundee United the perfect boost as they go up against his former protege Connor Goldson.

The Scotland striker pulled out of the recent Nations League double header because of an on-going ankle issue that has kept him out since the first game of the season.

Mellon knows having Shankland back enhances United’s firepower as they try and breach a Rangers defence that hasn’t lost a domestic goal this season.

They are also marshalled by a defender that Mellon managed and alway knew was destined for the top – in Goldson.

Mellon, when asked if Shankland could start at Ibrox, answered: “We will have a look at that because we have to weigh that up short and long-term.

“He will play some part at Ibrox. Any time you go and play Rangers you know it is going to be a challenge and you want to have as many really good options with you to give yourself a chance of overcoming things.

“If any team loses their goalscorer and the player who has been scoring all their goals then people can use that as an excuse.

“We believe we have good players here who would keep things moving but it is always good to get good players back into your group again. He is fit, he has been doing a lot of work and training over the last few days.”

Mellon had Goldson at Shrewsbury Town, when he was establishing himself as one of the best young centre backs in England’s lower leagues.

He then sold him to Brighton, where he made his name in the Premier League before Steven Gerrard convinced him to move north.

Connor Goldson tussles with Yossi Benayoun of Arsenal during his time at Shrewsbury Town
(Image: Catherine Ivill/AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

The United boss said: “I had him at Shrewsbury and even back then he was experienced and had played over 100 games at 20 or 21.

“Even then you could tell he was a lad that was going to do well and the lads around him had to do well to match his standards.

“He was always that type of lad, first and last off the training ground. Connor was a young centre back who had everything and there are not many of them around at that age. So there was always a lot of interest in him.”

Goldson has been Gerrard’s first-choice centre half since he arrived and Mellon believes he has shown why with his miserly performances.

He said: “I don’t think many people in Scotland knew about Connor before he came up rather than the people at Rangers.

“I have always said he is a leader, influential and he will get better because he is one of these guys who wants to continually improve and he is one of those lads who has continually done that.

“When you have players you have that bond with them and you like to see them kick on and do well in their careers. He has done really well.”

Rangers FC

The Ibrox clash has been billed as a grudge match but Mellon played that down.

He said: “There are a lot of feuds in Scotland – everyone has a feud!

“I love the competition here. I am not involved in any feud and neither are our players.”

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