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Rangers: Lewis Budinauckas could be Jon McLaughlin’s heir

Glasgow Rangers were busy in the summer transfer window as they invested in their squad by bringing in a host of new signings to Ibrox.

Sporting director Ross Wilson wasted no time in snapping up John Souttar (although he penned a pre-contract deal back in January), Ben Davies, Malik Tillman, Antonio Colak, Ridvan Yilmaz, Tom Lawrence, and Rabbi Matondo.

However, the Light Blues did not recruit any players in the goalkeeping department after extending Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin‘s respective contracts over the summer.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s options in that position appeared to be in need of an upgrade after McGregor’s shaky form in the Premiership last season. The 40-year-old made four errors directly leading to shots or goals for the opposition in the Scottish top flight, with his mistakes making him a weak link in the team as he was all too often error-prone.

This led to the Dutch head coach making McLaughlin his number one for the 2022/23 campaign, but the Scotland international has not repaid the faith shown in him.

In the Premiership this season, the former Sunderland man has made one error leading to a goal in six appearances and has let in every other shot on target against him, with a save percentage of 50%. This indicates that he has struggled badly in terms of shot-stopping and is conceding goals at an alarming rate, in relation to the number of shots that he is facing.

Is McLaughlin good enough?





Therefore, the £6.1k-per-week goalkeeper has been a liability for the Light Blues, and his performances may result in Wilson and Van Bronckhorst regretting not dipping into the market to sign a new number one.

The head coach has not handed a single appearance to Robby McCrorie since arriving at the club in 2021, and if he is not willing to give the Scotland international a chance, this means that the Dutchman could need to look further down the ranks in search of a solution to the goalkeeping situation.

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Gio van Bronckhorst coaching on the touchline for Rangers

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One player who could be the heir to McLaughlin between the sticks is B-team goalkeeper Lewis Budinauckas, who has established himself as the Gers’ first-choice at youth level.

The 20-year-old has played 13 times for Rangers B and has been named on the bench in the Champions League this season, which suggests that Van Bronckhorst has kept a close eye on his development.

His academy teammate Adam Devine described him as a “confident” goalkeeper who you “can always depend on” after an impressive performance against Celtic in the Glasgow Cup in April, which shows how highly he is rated and appreciated by his peers.

The gem has also had experience at senior level with loan spells at Civil Service Strollers and Raith Rovers, although he was an unused substitute for the latter in the Championship.

He is a promising young player with his entire career ahead of him, and Van Bronckhorst could be the manager to give him his first taste of first-team action at Ibrox to see if he is good enough to be McLaughlin’s heir, whilst hopefully ending the continuing problems between the sticks for Rangers.