Leon Balogun hopes Rangers recall will pave the way for new contract as he makes pitch for a deal

Hopeful Leon Balogun is praying his Rangers recall will spark new deal talks so he can stay at Ibrox.

The veteran Rangers defender was a surprise starter during Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hearts as he was drafted in to replace dropped defensive stalwart Connor Goldson.

The 35-year-old vindicated boss Philippe Clement’s huge call with a solid display at the back, helping to shut out Gorgie marksman Lawrence Shankland as the Light Blues booked their place in next month’s final with Celtic with a 2-0 win. As things stand, that clash with Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops will be Balogun’s last day on duty as a Rangers player, with his Ibrox contract up at the end of the season. But the Nigerian international - who is in his second stint with Gers having previously spent two years serving under Steven Gerrard and Gio van Bronckhorst - would love to stay on. The former Brighton, Wigan and QPR stopper confirmed he’s yet to open talks on an extension.

But asked if he felt his return to the starting line-up after a two month absence bodes well for a new deal, he said: “I hope so. Has there been talks on my future? Not yet. I really don't know what will happen. I think those decisions will be made within the club within the next few weeks.

"I hope I get a notification a bit more timely than the last time around! I would like to think I can be quite positive, touching on the manager choosing me on Sunday, but I can't really tell you - I don't know yet.”