Allan McGregor could earn a new deal at Rangers
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has not ruled out offering Allan McGregor a new contract which would take the veteran goalkeeper’s playing career beyond his 40th birthday.
McGregor produced a vintage display on Thursday night as Rangers defeated Willem II 4-0 in Tilburg to reach the play-off round of the Europa League.
Despite the convincing nature of the final scoreline, McGregor’s contribution was hugely significant as he made outstanding saves at crucial moments to prevent the Dutch side from gaining any impetus in the tie.
The former Scotland international will celebrate his 39th birthday in January and his current contract with Rangers is due to expire at the end of this season.
Gerrard insists it is premature to consider a new deal at this stage of the campaign but admits he would want to retain McGregor’s services if he maintains the kind of form he showcased again on Thursday.
“Listen, it is too early to discuss all of that,” said Gerrard. “He has just recently signed a new extension, he is here for the season.
“We are all aware of his age but he is still rated and loved as much as he was when he was younger. We will take it month by month.
“Listen, if he is still in the same shape and he is still producing the same performances at the time that we need to discuss it, that will be a decision for Allan McGregor. But one thing is for sure, we will certainly want to keep him around the football club.
“I think the biggest compliment I can give him about Thursday is that I’m trying to think over my 20-year career in football and I can’t remember when a goalkeeper was ever Man of the Match for my team in a 4-0 win before.
“So that tells you the story, really. But that is Allan, that is him. It is as if it hadn’t happened, he gets showered, he goes home and he gets ready to do it again if called upon.”
McGregor’s status as Rangers’ number one goalkeeper has come under serious threat this season following the summer arrival of Jon McLaughlin from Sunderland.
When McGregor was sidelined by a knee injury following the opening Premiership fixture of the season against Aberdeen at Pittodrie at the start of August, McLaughlin seized his opportunity in impressive fashion.
The former Hearts man kept six clean sheets in seven appearances, prompting Gerrard to think long and hard before he selected McGregor for the assignment in Tilburg.
“Allan has had a bit of a disrupted pre-season with injuries and pains but I saw signs in training this week that he was looking close to his best,” added Gerrard.
“It was still a big call to put him in. But with the experience that he has got, and with the journeys we have been on in Europe over the last two years, I did have a good feeling and I was confident.
“Allan has still got to go and make those saves and do them at key times for us and that is the reason why he is held in such high regard inside this football club.”
Rangers turn their attention back to domestic business on Sunday when they face Motherwell at Fir Park and look to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping two points in the title race in the 2-2 draw against Hibs at Easter Road last weekend.
Since returning from last season’s winter break, Rangers have won only four of their 10 away fixtures in domestic competitions in 2020. It’s a statistic midfielder Scott Arfield accepts they must improve if they hope to win silverware this season.
“Of course we need to get that percentage rate up,” said Arfield. “If you want to be successful, you need to win away from home.
“We never managed to do that last Sunday but we have another chance this weekend. We know it is going to be a tough test. Motherwell always make it difficult for teams. They have not had the best of starts to this season but I think they are in a false position and they should not be taken lightly.
"It was a fantastic scoreline for us on Thursday against a very good team. It gives us a bit of momentum and we have to take that into Sunday now. We took our chances against Willem II and that was what we put most emphasis on after last Sunday at Hibs. Our finishing was clinical and made it a little bit easier for ourselves.”
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