Former Albion and now Rangers defender Connor Goldson has spoken glowingly of his time on the south coast ahead of Saturday’s pre-season friendly at Ibrox.
The 28-year-old was a part of the Albion team that won promotion to the Premier League, and now has a Scottish Premiership title to his name after Steven Gerrard’s men secured Rangers a historic 55th top-tier title last season.
It hasn’t always been easy for the defender, who had to have heart surgery while an Albion player.
“It was a tough time for me and my family, but the club were brilliant in the way they picked it up and dealt with it. They kept me as massive part of the promotion journey. I have got friends there who were close to me for a long time and they helped me through that difficult time.
“You have those thoughts at first, ‘Will I be able to play again?’ when you need an operation on your heart, you don’t know what’s to come. When I saw the surgeon and he told me I’d be back playing in a few months I was fortunate. The doctor at Brighton was brilliant, he travelled everywhere with me to see specialists and surgeons. I am so pleased that I have been able to carry on playing.
“I really enjoyed my time at Brighton, it’s a really good club with brilliant people. We went in the right direction during my time there, getting promoted to the Premier League, I am delighted that the club has managed to stay there as well.
“I haven’t got a bad word to say about the place. I am happy they gave me the chance to step up from League Two to the Championship at the time and I managed to play a lot of games. I have only good memories.”
Having missed ten months of football during 2017, Goldson returned to make his Premier League debut in a 1-0 win over Watford in December that year.
“That was my best moment at Brighton, my Premier League debut. Off the back of my heart surgery, I remember Shane Duffy got suspended and that meant I would be playing for a couple of weeks.
“I got the Man of the Match award and we kept a clean sheet. It was always my dream to play in the Premier League and it was my way of saying ‘I am back.’
The centre-back departed for Glasgow in 2018, intrigued by the ambitions set out by Gers’ manager Steven Gerrard.
“I’d always had big dreams, but I didn’t know where that would take me. Coming to Scotland, success was the aim from the moment I got here. My first conversation with the gaffer was about getting Rangers back into European football and turning the club around.
“I can’t say I didn’t believe that wouldn’t happen, because I wouldn’t have come up here. I believed in the project the gaffer sold me and we have worked hard every day to make sure that it happened. It has worked out, but now we have won we want to carry it on, to win cups as well as league titles.
“The team we have got now is very strong and we showed that by getting to the Europa League last 16 in the last two years, as well as going undefeated in the league as we won the title. Hopefully this group can stick together for a long time and win even more.”
Looking ahead to today’s game though, Goldson can’t wait to come up against Albion.
“It’ll be good to see a few old faces, players and the coaching staff. I never expected to play against Brighton as a Rangers player, so it will be nice. I only really speak to Dunky on a regular basis now, but I’ve spoken to Bruno, Shane Duffy and Glenn Murray a few times since I have left.
“It’s going to be a busy weekend against two tough teams in Brighton and then Real Madrid on Sunday. We want to get into the Champions League, so these games are good preparations.”