They say a good goalkeeper is just as important as a 25-goal-a-season striker.
Indeed, for the past few seasons, Allan McGregor has been one of the most valuable members of the playing squad.
When the likes of Nikica Jelavic, Kenny Miller and Steven Naismith have been capable of moments of brilliance, McGregor has been consistently producing magnificent individual performances during Rangers’ 3IAR run under Walter Smith.
The 30-year-old has been an under-rated stalwart at Ibrox for the last six seasons, with important loan spells at Dunfermline and St Johnstone giving him the first-team experienced needed to jostle with Stefan Klos and Ronald Waterreus for the number one jersey.
Back then, not many would have expected McGregor to progress as quickly as he has under Smith and briefly Paul Le Guen, to become one of the finest goalkeepers the club has had in recent times.
And Rangers’ incredible run to the UEFA Cup Final in 2007/08 allowed McGregor to star on a European platform and become a key-man in the club’s run to Manchester. In matches against Barcelona, Lyon, Stuttgart, Panathinaikos, Sporting Lisbon and Werder Bremen, McGregor conceded just 11 goals in 16 matches – a very impressive record given the two three-goal defeats to Stuttgart and Lyon in the group-stages.
Domestically, colossal performances against Celtic kept Rangers well in the hunt for a quadruple until the last week of the season but injury at Celtic Park prevented him from featuring in Florence or Manchester.
McGregor made 98 league appearances between 2008-2010 as the Light Blues secured three league championships under Walter Smith. On the big occasion, McGregor maintained an exceptional level of consistency with title-winning moments, such as, his penalty save from Georgios Samaras last May.
In his 10th season as a Rangers player, McGregor has continued to improve and keep a high-level of form throughout the run-of-the-mill SPL campaign. The Gers have lost 28 goals in 38 league matches which is still a very strong record given the circumstances of the season at Ibrox.
At international level, the Edinburgh-born keeper has become the Scotland number one with some outstanding performances for the national team. In particular, his performance in the 3-2 defeat to Spain was one of his best of the season that saved Scotland from a hammering by the world champions.
Another 18 clean sheets in domestic competitions keeps Allan McGregor firmly placed as Scotland’s best goalkeeper and despite the current situation at Ibrox, the Light Blues faithful will be hoping that the keeper is still wearing the famous colours for years to come.
You can follow Ross Dunbar on (Twitter)[https://twitter.com/#!/rossdunbar93]
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