Steven Gerrard praises 'superb' Allan McGregor for clean sheet in Europa League victory
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard felt his decision to recall Allan McGregor to his side was vindicated by the veteran goalkeeper’s contribution in the 4-0 Europa League win over Willem II in Tilburg.
McGregor has fierce competition for his place this season from Jon McLaughlin, who has kept six clean sheets in seven appearances since signing from Sunderland in the summer.
But 38-year-old McGregor pulled off several exceptional saves in a tie which Gerrard admitted was far more competitive than the final scoreline suggested.
"It’s no surprise,” said Gerrard of McGregor’s display. “It’s the reason I picked him. I knew that at times against this team we may be in one-v-one situations, we would need him to make big stops. So we certainly got that decision right. But Allan deserves the credit, it was a superb showing.
"They (Willem II) are a good team. You could see all night they had dangerous players, looking for that combination and one-v-one. They have a lot of creativity in the final third and tonight was all about trying to control that and restrict that and keep their top players quiet.
"I thought we didn’t do it well enough in the first half, I thought we were lucky to go in 2-0 up at half-time. It could have been 2-1 or 2-2. It was a very end to end game in the first half. So we needed to sort our organisation out for the second half.
"The boys carried that out brilliantly. We had four different scorers, a strong win and a clean sheet – a lot of positives to take. And, again, another top, top show from our goalkeeper.”
After James Tavernier’s penalty and Ryan Kent’s fifth goal of the season put Rangers 2-0 up at the break, defenders Filip Helander and Connor Goldson both scored from set pieces in the second half.
"We put loads of work into the set pieces and (technical coach) Tom Culshaw gives them a lot of guidance on it,” Gerrard told Rangers TV. “But they’ve got to go out and carry it out, we have to get quality into the right areas and you’ve got to want to go and score goals from set pieces. It was great to see we scored from two tonight.”
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