Former Rangers keeper Cammy Bell is confident that Jon McLaughlin has everything needed to be a success as number one at Ibrox as he insisted all the veteran needs is the chance to impress.
McLaughlin is expected to take the gloves this summer and Bell has seen enough from the former Scotland squad man to think he has everything needed to replace Allan McGregor between the sticks.
However, with a chance McGregor could decide to play on for another year, Bell confessed McLaughlin will likely be “really disappointed” if he never got the chance to properly stake his claim to be Rangers’ number one next season.
“Jon has all the qualities to be a top keeper for Rangers. He has shown that already in big games and especially the Scottish Cup run,” Bell said [Daily Record].
“He has everything to be a Rangers keeper. Maybe he just needs a run of 20-30 games consistently and then we could see how he reacts to the pressure of doing it week in, week out.
“But he is definitely ready to be Rangers’ first choice. If he gets the opportunity then I’m sure he will grab it. He’d be really disappointed if he never got that opportunity.
“It’s a real make-or-break summer for him and he’ll be going into pre-season thinking ‘this is my chance’.
“Of course if Greegsy decides to stay on then I can’t imagine he’d settle for being a No.2 so Jon would face another massive battle for the gloves. But he definitely deserves the chance.
“His stats are incredible. The number of clean sheets he consistently keeps. Jon is a calming influence and his personality is perfect for a job of that size. He’s a laid-back character and never looks flustered.
“He’s commanding and will come out and take crosses to relieve the pressure. He’s good with his feet and distribution is excellent. He can make big saves. But can he make the big, big matchwinning saves like Greegsy? That’s still a question.
“The saves Allan has made all his career to win trophies and get through big ties in Europe and the type of saves that can turn a game on its head. Jon just needs the chance to show he can make them too.”
McLaughlin deserves Rangers chance – but shouldn’t be guaranteed gloves if McGregor retires
Every time McLaughlin has been called upon, he’s done exactly what is needed – but if McGregor retires he shouldn’t be guaranteed the gloves.
With Robby McCrorie also looking to become number one, Gio van Bronckhorst can’t just make his decision based on perceived seniority.
If McCrorie is the better fit, he should get the gloves but if Gio feels McLaughlin is, then that’s who should get the nod.
That said, Rangers still need to figure out what McGregor wants to do as the start of pre-season rapidly approaches.