I thought after my long hiatus I’d return with a retraction of sorts. Firstly, I’m sure the man in question couldn’t give monkeys as to my opinion of him anyway. The man has medals, caps and money in spades, something of which I do not. And I would like to make it clear that I have always liked him but perhaps have never gotten carried away with it.
In general I’m against players returning to Ibrox for a second spell as asides from a few notable exceptions the player fails to match the success of the previous stint. When it was being touted this time last year that McGregor may be returning I wasn’t particularly excited. I’ll point out just now that I have always thought he was a good goalkeeper, and in spells a very good goalkeeper, but as he had just turned 36 at the time I did question the thinking behind it. It had looked as though we would need to replace Foderingham longer term but this signing didn’t seem very ‘future proof’.
McGregor is four months older than me and I was aware of him through youth district football, in so much as I knew the Edinburgh/Lothian team (I forget what they were called) had a goalie that was going to sign for Rangers. He would start to appear on the bench from about 18 years old and would be the long term understudy to Stefan Klos. During the 06-07 McGregor would depose Lionel Letizi as first choice. It seemed McGregor and Letizi became unwitting proxies in the Le Guen/Rangers support feud which started to become very evident by late November of that season. I’ll go on record as saying right now that McGregor hadn’t really been all that special early on but Letizi was dreadful and Allan would go on to justify his selection over the Frenchman.
Standing 6ft tall he isn’t overly tall for a goalkeeper but he was a very accomplished shot stopper, most of the time. My gripe with him has always been his handling and positioning and why Jim Stewart never rectified it but that’s for another day.
I’ve never bought in to the cult of personality that surrounds him and I believe his ‘Shagger’ persona has given him an easy ride at times. In fact it almost makes it illegal to hint at criticism towards him on certain social media platforms Having grown up with Woods, Goram and Klos as our Number Ones (small plug there) he was just never consistent enough and would rarely go on a run of 6/7 games without losing a soft goal.
That all being said, it seems with age comes experience. Since his return he has been very consistent and he reads situations far better than he did before. He was the major factor in us making the group stages of the Europa League, even if a lot of the saves were overhyped to a degree, he was still there to make them. He has an aura to him that sadly Wes just didn’t have.
He has brought a commanding presence to the defence that simply hasn’t been there for years and he leads by example. He fights our corner when required and isn’t slow in letting players know when they are slipping below the standards expected of a Rangers player. Yes he has lost a couple of softer goals but these have been a lot fewer and far between than before. Were it not for Morelos then I’d say he was a shoe-in for our Player of the Year.
Given his age and with nature taking its course we will probably have to look to replace him after next season as the reactions will slow unfortunately but that comes to us all. But as it stands I’m happy to say I got it wrong with him and he has been very solid so far for us this season. Long may it continue as this can only be good for Rangers and potential success.
Speak to you all soon when I return with a Number Ones show about Ronald Waterreus.
Gary Spence (@garywolfboy)