Allan McGregor: Rangers goalkeeper set to hit European milestone against Borussia Dortmund

In the country where he produced one of his greatest displays in a Rangers jersey, Allan McGregor is poised to make the 100th European club competition appearance of his career on Thursday night.

The veteran goalkeeper is the Ibrox club’s all-time European appearance record holder, having played 95 games on the continental stage since making his debut in a UEFA Cup tie against Molde back in 2006. McGregor also made four Europa League appearances for Hull City in the 2014-15 season.

The 40-year-old should reach his personal century milestone when Rangers take on Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off tie in the Westfalen Stadium. It will also be his 450th appearance in all competitions for Rangers.

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It was in Germany that McGregor delivered one of the most memorable performances of his outstanding career when Rangers played Werder Bremen in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup in March 2008.

Allan McGregor (centre) pictured during his 99th European club competition appearance as Rangers defeated Sparta Prague 2-0 at Ibrox in November. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Leading 2-0 from the first leg at Ibrox, Rangers found themselves under siege during the return fixture in Bremen. McGregor made a string of fine saves, notably keeping out efforts from Markus Rosenberg and Daniel Jensen, before being beaten by a precise strike from Brazilian star Diego midway through the second half.

Rangers remained on the rack as Werder pushed for the goal which would take the tie into extra time and McGregor came to his side’s rescue again in the closing minutes with an astonishing reaction save to deny striker Boubacar Sanogo and clinch a place in the quarter-finals for Walter Smith’s team. An injury subsequently saw McGregor miss out as Rangers went all the way to the UEFA Cup Final which they lost to Zenit St Petersburg.

Since returning to Rangers in the summer of 2018 for his second spell at the club, McGregor has been a pivotal figure once more for the Ibrox team as they have rebuilt their reputation on the European stage with four consecutive qualifications for the group stage of the Europa League.

McGregor, who has kept 40 clean sheets in Europe for Rangers, continues to prove capable of making crucial and occasionally breathtaking saves on the big occasion. He was lauded last season for a stunning stop in the Europa League last 16 tie against Slavia Prague, leaping low to his left to clutch a header from Lukas Masopust when the ball was behind him.

Allan McGregor defies Werder Bremen striker Boubacar Sanogo during Rangers' UEFA Cup last 16 tie in Germany in March 2008. (Photo by John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images)

When Rangers clinched their place in this season’s knockout round play-offs with a match to spare, beating Sparta Prague 2-0 at Ibrox in November in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first match as manager, McGregor conjured up another showreel moment with a brilliant double save to defy Ladislav Krejci and Matej Pulkab.

While he is far from immune to rocky moments, such as his errors which proved costly as Rangers dropped two Premiership points in a 3-3 draw at Ross County last month, he remains a goalkeeper of exceptional calibre who will not be easily replaced whenever he decides to call time on his playing career.

McGregor, who is out of contract at the end of this season, will certainly relish the challenge he faces against a Borussia Dortmund side boasting plenty of firepower even if their Norwegian striking star Erling Haaland fails to recover from injury in time.

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