A week is a long time in football and, after his heroics against Willem II last night, Allan McGregor has shown he is ready to be first pick again
Ever had the misfortune of having to read through the Celtic media on a daily basis? The sheer cognitive dissonance on display is dwarfed only by how unbelievably fickle it all comes across. I suppose, in retrospect, it’s not entirely unbelievable – your average Celtic fan can shift from cheering his team to calling for their heads at the drop of a ball.
Nonetheless, it’s hard not to get whiplash reading through all the changed opinions, especially regarding Lennon, from one game to the next. We’re all a little guilty of that over here on the Rangers side too, so here I’m going to make it easy for you guys – last week we talked about how Jon McLaughlin had earned his spot, in Allan McGregor’s absense, as our keeper and shouldn’t be replaced on the latter’s return.
Today, I’m going to argue there’s a good case for McGregor, our natural number one, having earned his spot back in the starting lineup – following an unbelievable display in last night’s Europa League clash against Willem II. How’s that for some politician style flip-flopping?
That said, when we talked about this issue last, Rangers were flying high with a remarkable 7 consecutive games, all under McLaughlin, without having conceded a single goal. Then the Hibs game came along and well, yeah. That was that. McGregor’s reintroduction may not have given our defense much more confidence, but he pulled off some wonder saves that, in my opinion, ensured we won the game.
Seems I’m not the only one, Steven Gerrard has also credited McGregor’s performance as the driving force behind the victory. As quoted by the Daily Record;
“It’s no surprise, I think if you watched Rangers for the first time tonight you might be surprised but it’s the reason why I picked him.
I knew that at times against this team we would have maybe been in one vs one situations and would need him to make big stops.
We certainly got that decision right but Allan deserves the credit, it was a superb showing.”
For me, McGregor made at least 4 top drawer saves, among others, which perhaps could and should have resulted in goals in other situations. The fact we won 4-0 in the end, while definitely deserved, is so flattering almost certainly because of Allan’s heroics. He was just that good.
In honesty, this was hardly him just having a worldie, he’s always been a top keeper and the debate was always whether he would just walk back into his spot between the sticks automatically or if he’d have to earn it. I feel like he made a great case for himself last night and should definitely be in consideration to start against Motherwell on Sunday.
And honestly, this isn’t so much a flip-flop from us, but just following the rules we set down before. We said that as long as McLaughlin continued to have clean sheets, there was no good excuse for replacing him. Ultimately it should be form, not favouritism, that decides the team sheet. Yes he, and the rest of Rangers back line, are allowed a bad day at the office, but it certainly shouldn’t be so automatic a decision anymore, in my opinion.
In any case, the victory ensured Rangers now go on to face Turkey’s Galatasaray in a rare home match in the next round, as soon as next week. We’re in the big leagues now son. With Radamel Falcao leading the attack, Galatasaray will be formidable opponents for the Light Blues. It’s a difficult decision for Stevie G to make, but I think McGregor has given him all the help he can to name at least the number 1 of his best 11 for this game too.