Glasgow Rangers may soon have to bite the bullet and address an elephant in the room.
And no, we’re not talking about Ryan Kent’s contract situation, nor Lille’s long-term interest in Alfredo Morelos, but an underlying problem between the posts. Namely, the fact that veteran Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor isn’t getting any younger.
The Rangers shot-stopper wasn’t directly at fault for Benfica’s remarkable comeback in the closing stages of the Europa League game at Ibrox as he couldn’t do much about the goals but his wayward kicking left a lot to be desired with a nervy moment towards the beginning of the game.
On its own as an isolated incident, Steven Gerrard probably won’t be too concerned by a mistimed kick here or there.
In fact, we said just last month that McGregor is one of, if not the best keepers in the Scottish Premiership but that doesn’t hide from the fact that he has started to show signs that his powers are somewhat waning.
Per SofaScore, the 38-year-old has received a low rating of 6.38 for his performances in the Europa League so far this season – he is averaging just 0.3 saves and conceding 1.3 goals per game. By comparison, he averaged 2.2 saves per game last season, whilst he only conceded 1.2 goals per game in the very same competition, as per SofaScore.
It goes without saying that it’s the most challenging and unforgiving position on the pitch. Facing a torrent of abuse often comes with the territory of being the last person in the line of defence as the main purpose is to stop goals throughout the game.
Rangers signed Scotland and former Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin from Sunderland on a two-year-deal in the summer to provide cover and compete with McGregor for a place in the starting line-up. But therein lies the problem, as the 33-year-old is no spring chicken, either.
According to FootyStats, the Gers have the best xGA (Expected Goals Against) in the Premiership with just 0.61 goals expected against them per game, but this could be primarily due to the fact that they have the best defence in the competition.
In four appearances in the Europa League this season, McGregor has conceded five goals, whilst he has kept two clean sheets.
Whilst Brian Kinnear could soon be pushing for a call up to the senior squad, what they need right now is a reliable stopper who still has plenty of shelf life left and is comfortable with the ball if they are to push onwards to domestic and European glory. It’s surely worth a gamble as until then it may become a bit of a bumpy road in the path to success.
AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers must unleash Brandon Barker against Falkirk in Betfred Cup…