Leon Balogun has been speaking ahead of Rangers’ trip to Dingwall to face Ross County on Saturday. Here is everything he had to say…

How do you assess this game coming up?

Ross County is always a tough place to go. Obviously, quite far up and they always make it difficult for teams. We know we’re going to face a tough challenge there. Their start to the season is a mixed bag probably but they had a strong performance against Celtic so we definitely have to be ready and up for a fight before we think about forcing our game onto them.

Was the performance against PSV a lot more like it?

You have to park that. You have to take each game as it comes and try to play to the best of your ability tomorrow. We take one game at a time, PSV especially the second half, I think you saw a massive improvement and there are definitely bits to take from that game that we have to use going forward.

Was the energy and intensity something you could take into this weekend?

Definitely. If you look back at the games that we’ve played, that second-half performance looks a lot more like the Rangers team we want to be.

How important is it to get into the Champions League this year?

Financially everybody knows how massive it would be for the club but apart from that it’s just everyone’s personal ambition. I’ve personally never played in the Champions League so that’s my motivation and I’m pretty sure everyone in that dressing room has their own personal reasons for wanting to be there. You want to compete with the best and that is the Champions League in European football.

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Did you watch Rangers in the Champions League last season?

I did.

What did you make of it?

It was not as successful as we were all hoping but that’s in the past. I’m not really dwelling on that.

Does it show how difficult it can be if the draw is unfavourable?

It’s the Champions League, you’re not supposed to play against teams that make it easy for you. It’s not supposed to be a walk in the park. If you want to compete with the best you’ve got to bring your best. If you don’t it can get ugly.

How do you feel that PSV have a free weekend?

It might be boring but you have to deal with it. If you want to achieve your dreams then you have to give it everything. It’s not really a sacrifice but that’s just an obstacle you have to knock out of the way and deal with it. Make sure that you perform tomorrow, that’s why the focus is on tomorrow and then looking at PSV once we have put the weekend behind us. It’s a quick turnaround as well, that’s a good thing.

Would you welcome a bit of support from the authorities to give you time to prepare?

Yeah but then again there is a saying in Germany, that it’s not like a wish concert if that makes sense. It’s just what it is, you have to deal with it and other teams have to deal with it as well all around the globe. If you think of Jurgen Klopp who’s constantly moaning about the amount of games that teams have to play. You just have to deal with it, you can’t change it anyway.

Is it a case of biding your time to get an opportunity with John Souttar and Connor Goldson performing well?

Obviously. They have put in strong performances and if you want stability then the defensive line is one thing that you look at. Whoever plays, we have a really good relationship and you need to make sure you get the best out of each other. 

Thoughts on John Souttar? 

I think he’s a very strong player. Last season didn’t go the way he planned as he got injured early on. Since I’ve come back, you can see that he’s a good defender and there are a few things that I’ve wanted to copy from him. We’ve got really good defenders in the back line and there’s no point being sour because we have big targets this season. In order to achieve them, you need a strong squad and that’s what we have. 

What are the attributes you are looking to copy?

In one of the first sessions, I was really impressed with the way that he could shift his feet. It might sound a bit funny but I’ve seen it. The way he presses and the intensity that he presses with is quite impressive. 

Starting to see the best of Cyriel Dessers? 

It looks like it but I’m pretty sure that we can get more out of him. It’s not easy to come here, it’s a different environment and the new lads are starting to realise that. You don’t get as much time to settle here but I think the squad are doing a good job in helping them settle. You are starting to see more of the Dessers that we want to see. The pass on Tuesday night was world-class and we want to see more of that. 

Ambitions to get back in the Nigeria squad? 

I’m hoping to make the next squad because it’s been quite a long time. As much as it can be chaotic, I miss international football with Nigeria and there are lots of faces that I haven’t seen in a long time. 

How big is the next week? 

It speaks for itself. Going into next weekend’s game makes it that much bigger. Tuesday is a huge game and the Old Firm speaks for itself. It’s a massive, massive week.