Rangers hero Connor Goldson has talked about his life-threatening heart condition and players' reaction to his chest scar.

The footballer was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm – a swelling of the large artery which passes through the abdomen which was at risk of bursting with potentially catastrophic consequences, at age 24.

He underwent surgery, which was successful and a large scar remains on his chest.

Glasgow Times: Connor Goldson in hospital, 2017Connor Goldson in hospital, 2017 (Image: RR)

The 31-year-old said: “I don’t see it anymore, it’s just part of me, part of my body.

“It looks nice. I like it because it shows what I’ve been through.

"The only thing with a scar is when you are in the showers here people ask questions. I don’t mind talking about it now."

But for a long time, the star had a hard time opening up about the procedure and how it affected him.

He said: “Truthfully, I’ve never really spoken about it openly because it was a difficult time, but I also felt fortunate that I was able to continue playing, so I’ve never really wanted sympathy.

“When new players see the scar on my chest there’s always a big reaction straight away.  I was so fortunate, I was out for like three to four months and have never had a problem since. 

“I see people in football who have knee operations or ankle operations, or broken legs, that are out for a lot longer. Of course, when you do your knee it’s not life-threatening, the risk of mine, well I was going to die.” 

Specialists consider surgery when the aorta route is 50mm in diameter and at Connor’s first scan, his was 49mm, then 50mm at the second. 

He said: “Basically, if I wanted to play football, I had to have it done, there were no ifs or buts.

“I could have stopped playing right then, and it was my decision, but if I wanted to continue playing, I had to get it done. The surgeon said they had to fit a stent because it could have popped at any point.

“Nothing else mattered and all I really cared about was whether I could play football again."

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The Gers centre-back bounced back from the operation and was back in preseason just four months later, in July. 

He added: “But a lot has changed since then.

"I got married and now I have two children, and they are the highlights for me.

"Looking back, football was my priority and I still love the game and I love what I do and want to continue doing it for many years, but now that I have a family and children, they are the most important things.” 

Connor has the heart rates of both his children – Caleb, five, and Connor, who will be two in February – tattooed onto each wrist, taken from the baby scans before they were born. 

He said: “It reflects what I’ve been through, and they mean everything to me. Instead of having their names, their heart rate seems a lot more appropriate.”

The Englishman’s condition was picked up in a random checkup scan and he believes, were he not an elite sportsperson, it would probably have remained undiagnosed. 

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The Rangers Charity Foundation has pledged to raise £25,000 for the British Heart Foundation over the course of the season and aims to encourage as many fans as possible to learn lifesaving CPR via the charity’s free online training tool, RevivR. 

He said: “The BHF do an amazing job and I’m happy to help in any way.”