Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard, has admitted that the performances of Jon McLaughlin have changed his goalkeeping plans as he takes a selection headache into Sunday’s Scottish Premiership clash with Hibernian, as captured by RangersTV.
McLaughlin stepped in for the injured Allan McGregor for the second league fixture of the season against St Mirren and hasn’t looked back since, keeping a remarkable six consecutive clean sheets.
McGregor did return between the sticks for the Europa League qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps on Thursday, but the manager has confessed that although he had planned for the veteran to be his no.1, things have now changed.
“I think I’ll decide at the time, from game to game,” said Gerrard of his goalkeeping headache, as captured by RangersTV. “What I would say is that I have two fantastic goalkeepers who are going to push each other really hard.”
“I didn’t envisage the way that it has gone. With all due respect, the idea was that if Allan had had a strong pre-season I was obviously going to start with him as the no.1 – I think he would have deserved that on the last two years and his form.
“Unfortunately, he’s had a few niggles that have held him back and Jon has certainly taken his chance. He’s performed well, he’s playing with calmness and experience. He’s keeping clean sheets and making saves and it’s very difficult to change the keeper in that situation.”
Rangers boss Gerrard admits Jon McLaughlin has changed his plans – Verdict
It’s clear from his answers here alone that Gerrard is trying to keep two very good keepers happy at the same time.
He has great respect for McGregor for all the great performances he has put in since his return to the club and for the silverware he won during his first stint.
However, he feels it would be unjust to take McLaughlin out of the side when he’s barely put a foot wrong since his arrival.
It’s a tough balancing act for the manager but McLaughlin’s near-unprecedented run of clean sheets ensures McGregor can’t really have any grievances right now.
On this evidence, the former is more likely to get the nod at Easter Road on Sunday and after a run out in Gibraltar, the latter may have to go back to biding his time.