Rangers defender Connor Goldson has revealed his pride after completing a four-year journey that has taken him from the operating table to the winner’s podium.
The then-Brighton defender feared his career was over in March 2017 when he was told he needed surgery to cure a heart condition.
But Goldson bounced back from that scare, joining Rangers the following year.
And his remarkable recovery has gone so well he now stands just 20 minutes away from crashing through the 5,000-minute barrier having not missed a single second of Rangers’ 55 games so far this season.
He will rack up game 56 on Saturday as Steven Gerrard’s team bring the curtain down on a triumphant season against Aberdeen before the Light Blues’ squad get their hands on the Premiership trophy at long last.
Asked if this weekend’s title party would be even sweeter because of his own health battle, the 28-year-old said: “Yeah, it does in a way. I don’t really think about it on a day-to-day basis.
“It was a weird one. It was at the end of March when it came up on my phone that the operation was four years ago.
“That was a few weeks after we’d won the league so things like that put it into perspective.
“But personally, on a day-to-day basis, I don’t really think about it. I’m just happy that the three years I have been here have paid off.
“I came here and set out to win the league for Rangers. From the first day I spoke to the manager here, he set out that was a goal.
“Obviously it has taken us three years and it has been a big project and a big rebuild. But I’m glad to finally put this football club back where it belongs.
“Having met so many people in Glasgow and so many fans, it’s been a tough journey for this club and the supporters.
“I know it will be a special day for them tomorrow.
“I’m proud of my achievement for myself and proud of the achievement for the team.
“From getting told I might never play football again and having heart surgery to being in the position I am means I’m fortunate and appreciative of everything that’s happened.”
While it appeared obvious to most that Rangers were destined to be crowned champions for the 55th time months ahead of them actually clinching the title back in the first week of March, Goldson refused to get carried away.
“A lot of people externally said we’d won the league by November/December – but I didn’t see it that way,” he added.
“I’d probably go as far as saying it probably wasn’t until the Livingston game away in March with the Morelos winner late on.
“At that point we only needed one more win and with so many games to go I thought, ‘Yeah it’s done, we’re going to win the league’.
“That was probably the first time I allowed myself to believe that.
“Before that it was all about focusing on the next game. We didn’t want to give anyone a glimmer of hope.
“Now our main priority is to go the season unbeaten.
“I think it would be a special achievement for this football club. I don’t think we want to go into tomorrow, lifting the trophy on a sour day. We’re all looking forward to hopefully getting a positive result.”