CONNOR GOLDSON has no fears about being subject to racist abuse in Russia as he looks to silence Spartak Moscow and lead Rangers to within touching distance of the Europa League knockout rounds.

Boss Steven Gerrard last night revealed he will speak to his players about the potential for discrimination from the home crowd at the Otkritie Arena as the Gers play their fourth Group G fixture and bid to extend their unbeaten run on the continent.

Gerrard was in charge of the Liverpool Under-19 side that lost in Moscow in December in a match that was marred by allegations of racism towards Rhian Brewster and Bobby Adekanye.

Spartak have racked up a lengthy list of charges in recent years and UEFA forced them to close part of their stadium and display an ‘#EqualGame’ banner following racist chanting towards forward Adekanye.

Goldson is one of five black players that look set to start for the Light Blues tonight but the defender isn’t worried about the reception that he will receive in Russia.

He said: “It’s not something that will affect me. I hadn’t really thought about it at all.

“It won’t be an issue for me. It’s obviously something that you don’t want to hear at all.

“You don’t want to hear it anywhere in the world, at any stadium in the world.

“It’s just not right at all and hopefully there’s no of that at all tomorrow because you don’t want to hear it.

“They have black players in their team so it would be a shame to hear it from their fans.

“At the end of the day it’s a game of football, and I’m just here to play 90 minutes of football and get a positive result for Rangers.

“You have to rise above these things. It’s a poor mentality. It’s an uneducated mentality. I’m here to play football.”

Rangers made the trip to Russia on the back of a Premiership victory over St Mirren as they got back to winning ways after a frustrating run against Spartak, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.

Raul Riancho’s side battled their way to a goalless draw at Ibrox a fortnight ago but Rangers remain top of Group G after three matches and are tied on five points with Villarreal.

Three points in Moscow would put the Gers on course for a knockout berth and Goldson is relishing the chance to take a significant step towards qualification.

He said: “We have come such a long way since the summer, I don’t think anyone can argue against that.

“It’s about one final push in these final three matches, we all know how vital they are going to be.

“The Spartak game is that first of three games. We know its importance in terms of trying to get out of the group.

“We’re all looking forward to it. We know how big a game it is for them too and they will be under pressure.

“But these were the games that I joined Rangers for. When I spoke to the gaffer in the summer he told me how much he wanted to get this club back into Europe.

“We’ve been to Villarreal, we’ve played Rapid Vienna and then we have this now.

“It’s another huge game and I think the fact we were all disappointed after drawing the first game with Spartak 0-0 also illustrates how far we’ve come.”

HeraldScotland | Sport

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