WHERE better than Carrington to learn how to bend it like Beckham? The set-piece prowess which Sean Goss illustrated by opening his Rangers account with an unerring free-kick against Hibs last weekend was honed by long hours spent watching the Manchester United legend striking dead balls on video and staying back like him after training to practice them, sometimes in the company of his fellow Class of ’92 superstars like Paul Scholes. Scholes was equally deadly with a dead ball, although sometimes he used that prowess to strike errant team-mates on the back of their head from 50 yards when they weren’t looking.

“I always used to watch him [Beckham], and even Scholes as well, although he didn’t hit so many free-kicks,” said Goss. “I always used to try to get a lot of assists, so I would go out after training trying to practice them a lot, stay back my myself and set up mannequins for a wall. That is just the culture at Manchester United, a lot of the young kids stay back, after hearing all the stories of what certain players used to do.

“When Scholes was around, you could never turn your back, even when you were going for a drink, you had to lower your head. But it was a pleasure to train with him. There were a few times in my early time at United where I was in rehab and he was at the same stage. And we had a few times just doing ball work then progressing on. His technique was unbelievable and it was a pleasure to train with him.

Loading article content

“All the senior pros at United like to help, there’s always a tight bond between the first team and youth players, they always want to help you out. He gave us a bit of a head start as well, because he was our Under-19s manager in the Uefa Youth League as well.”

Now Goss, who is fit for duty at Somerset Park tonight despite sustaining a facial injury at Partick Thistle in midweek, is bringing the same set-piece drill in at Auchenhowie, where he, James Tavernier and Josh Windass stay back with a goalkeeper to work on their technique, with a cup of coffee or two up for grabs for the winner. Bruno Alves, who will soon be fit to resume, is invited to join too, although Goss is less keen for him to take the ball off him when it comes to game time.

“We have got a little group outside, and we do free-kicks maybe five times a week. It is normally me, Josh, Tavs, and we always make it a bit of a competition to see who gets the coffees in. Hopefully after the goal the other day I will keep my spot a bit longer. I missed the first one last Saturday – it was probably a bit close for me to be fair – and I had a massive earful off Tav on the second one, thankfully I managed to get him away and put it away, so that was good.”