Allan McGregor returned to Rangers this summer, six years after he left for the club for Besiktas.
Steven Gerrard has gone for young, hungry options in other areas of the pitch; but he wanted experience between the posts and that’s exactly what McGregor provides.
He knows exactly what it takes to succeed at Rangers; it’s all about dealing with the pressure and expectation. He has the experience to cope and that transmits into the rest of the team.
Gerrard has a new-look back four but McGregor’s presence behind them serves to calm them down. He has the quality, knowhow and composure and that relaxes a defence.
In their own words
Last night, his contribution came into sharper focus. Two outstanding saves against Maribor – including one from the penalty spot – ensured Rangers’ safe passage in the Europa League.
He was rightly praised. Gerrard said: “When you go away to tough places and the team is suffering, you need someone to bail you out from time to time. The save he made before the penalty was world class.
“The penalty save was world class and I think his all-round performance was too. We’re lucky to have him. It’s a shame he’s nearly as old as me because Rangers fans love him and I love him. We wish he was 10 years younger.”
Team-mate Andy Halliday added: “What a goalkeeper. His save before the penalty was great. He might not get called on a lot in games but when he does he makes those big saves. I said to him after that I genuinely did fancy him to save the penalty. I fancied him to save it and he came up big for us.”
McGregor deserves all the praise he is getting. His return to Rangers has been a success so far; he has added much-needed experience and composure to a young and learning team.
His European and international expertise will be useful if the Europa League run continues. He is also one of the few players in the squad who knows what it takes to win the league.
He’s won three and Gerrard has his sights on regaining the title. It’s early days yet, but McGregor is vital if Rangers are to have a successful season.