CRAIG Moore believes Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has to keep faith with the same central defensive partnership this season if he wants his side to lift the Scottish title and stop Celtic completing 10-In-A-Row.

Gerrard has, due in no small part to injuries his defenders have picked up, chopped and changed who plays alongside Connor Goldson in the heart of his rearguard during his two years in charge at Ibrox. 

George Edmundson, Filip Helander, Nikola Katic, Gareth McAuley and Joe Worrall have all stints in the first team next to Goldson with varying degrees of success.

Katic is set to be sidelined for the rest of the year with a serious knee injury and it is unclear whether new signing Joel Balogun, Edmundson or Helander will be preferred.

But Moore, the Australian internationalist who helped Rangers round off Nine-In-A-Row in his first spell in Glasgow and then win a domestic treble in his second, reckons his old club would benefit hugely from having the same centre half pairing at the back on a weekly basis.

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“If you look at any successful team anywhere in the world it normally comes from having a consistent defence, in particular goalkeeper and centre half,” he said yesterday from his home on the Gold Coast. 

“You obviously need a little bit of luck and players being fit and healthy. But if a manager has a chance to keep two centre backs who are playing well together for a whole season it has huge impact on what can be achieved as a team.

“As a younger lad coming through at Rangers I was in a perfect situation because I was able to learn off of fantastic professionals. Richard Gough was a great leader, captain and central defender and was obviously good to play with. I learned just by watching him because I wasn’t always playing.

“When I finally established myself and enjoyed success I usually played alongside big Lorenzo Amoruso. We built a very good understanding. We were different types of players, but we complemented one another. I understood exactly how Lorenzo played and vice versa. That gave us a really good partnership I believe.

“Lorenzo loved to read the play and defend on the front foot. He was physically very strong and would go and intercept a lot of balls. When it was being played short he would go and get the ball, travel and create. I knew he was that type of player and I was prepared to cover the space that he was leaving.

“We all know the importance of this season and what it means to Celtic and Rangers. If Steven has a settled central defensive partnership who play week in, week out I think it will help his team to play consistently and win trophies.”

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Moore, who now works in player recruitment and representation with the agency run by John Viola, the Scottish intermediary who looked after him throughout his career, feels Gerrard has the necessary talent at his disposal at centre half. 

“I have seen quite a bit of Goldson and Katic,” he said. “Katic has been unlucky with injuries, but he is not only a good defender, he is a threat when it comes to set pieces and pops up and scores important goals. He has that aggressive style, he really wants to go and attack the ball.

“Edmundson is a younger lad and is maybe one for the future. But he has obviously come in and has shown good potential in the games that he has played. Helander and Balogun, too, have played at a good level.”

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However, Moore is concerned about the lack of strength in depth that Rangers have elsewhere in the side. That was never an issue at Ibrox when he was a player there in the 1990s and 2000s. He recalls how it was integral to the dominance they enjoyed. 

“You need a quality squad,” he said. “When I had my injuries, Lorenzo would play alongside Colin Hendry, Henning Berg, Tony Vidmar, whoever. That shows the depth we had at that time. You need that to be successful.

“That is the concern I still have for Rangers. Alfredo Morelos leaving is on the cards. I am sure people would have liked the business to have been done earlier because it would have given them more time to bring people in. But it’s not one striker they need to replace him it is three or four.

“Two strikers isn’t enough. Back in the days when Rangers were successful they had good partnerships up front, but there were still other strikers. You had Gabriel Amato, Billy Dodds, Michael Mols, Rod Wallace, Jonatan Johansson. You had four or five strikers competing for two positions.

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“Steven still needs three strikers even if he is playing with one up front. For me, two is not enough. If your main goalscorer is out then your second striker needs back-up. They need more depth if they want to win trophies, they need more in the point area. 

“I still think Rangers need to improve their depth. Their top players might be a certain level, but that’s not going to win you the title. That depth is important. You need good competition as well as good partnerships.”