Journalist Jonny McFarlane is expecting Allan McGregor to be chosen in goal for Rangers in Europe this evening.
The Rangers Review writer was speaking on the site’s YouTube channel on Monday as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men prepare for the first leg of their crunch Champions League third qualifying round tie with Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium.
After much debate, it was Jon McLaughlin who got the nod between the sticks for the Bears in Saturday’s Scottish Premiership opener with Livingston.
In what was the major talking point when the team news emerged, the 35-year-old stood his ground when afforded the opportunity, posting a 7/10 Scotsman match rating and ‘cut an assured figure’, according to writer Andrew Smith.
Nonetheless, McFarlane believes the fierce competition building among the squad could filter all the way through to the netminders and has tipped McGregor to be given a starting place this evening when Van Brinckhorst comes to pick his lineup.
He said: “I think it’s going to change week-in, week-out. I don’t think there is going to be a Rangers ‘starting XI’.
“I think there might be one for against Celtic that’s different to the one that’s going to be going up against the Champions League [teams], that’s different to the one that plays Ross County, that’s different to the one that plays Hearts. And I think that might extend through the whole team – even to the ‘keepers, because I would expect Allan McGregor to start tomorrow night.
“I’ve seen cup ‘keepers in my time but never to this extent if this is going to be what’s going to happen.
“I’d be wary of making predictions, because who knows what’ll happen? Maybe Gio will play Jon McLaughlin tomorrow night. But I think there’s a growing suspicion that there might be more of a churn in terms of who’s picked where as time goes on.
“It’s going to be fascinating to see how that plays out.”
TIF Thoughts on McGregor and Rangers…
Who should be Rangers no.1?
McGregor, who was hailed as ‘terrific’ for a penalty save he made against Red Star in Europe last season, signed a one-year contract extension this summer and it is perhaps European nights that Van Bronckhorst will look to call upon the 40-year-old veteran.
He has played 106 times in Europe throughout his career, with all but four of those appearances coming in a Gers shirt and has kept 42 clean sheets, while McLaughlin has played just twice in continental competition.
There is a clear gulf there, but it will be interesting to see who is selected because a McLaughlin nod would surely signify a role change in the goalkeeping department for the season going forward.