Kris Boyd played alongside Allan McGregor for Rangers in the noughties when they won a championship and two League Cups together under Walter Smith.
However, the veteran striker (at 35, he’s two years younger than the goalkeeper) admits he doesn’t recognise the man he once knew when he watches him now.
Boyd was at Ibrox on Sunday, helping to analyse Rangers’ 1-0 win over Hibernian for Sky. The superb late save McGregor produced to deny Florian Kamberi an equaliser did not surprise him; nor, though, did the petulant kick at Marc McNulty’s back which saw him sent off minutes later.
That approach – catching opponents late or kicking out at them – has been a recurring aspect of McGregor’s displays this season. He escaped punishment for catching Motherwell defender Peter Hartley late during a 3-3 draw at Fir Park in August and again avoided sanction when he planted his studs into Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer’s groin during a 1-0 defeat at Parkhead in September.
A dangerous, studs-up lunge at Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson during a 4-2 victory at Pittodrie in February saw McGregor receive a retrospective two-game ban and his straight red card at the weekend capped a season of discontent for the player, who retired from international football earlier in the year.
Boyd believes his old friend remains an outstanding performer but cannot defend his thuggish outbursts.
“When you are at a big club, there are obviously pressures there,” he said. “Alfredo Morelos is a young boy and he has learned the hard way after being sent off and missing important games.
“But there isn’t any excuse for Allan McGregor. You cannot say he’s a young boy; he’s been there going for league titles, runs in Europe, big games. When you look at Allan first time around compared to what he is now… maybe it was because we were winning and Allan was part of a group that were winners.
“Many of the Rangers team haven’t won anything and maybe he’s trying to drive them on to that next level. Doing what he’s doing isn’t doing that or showing that. Inside two minutes on Sunday, he had a fantastic save to get Rangers three points and then he’s kicking someone in the back. There have been too many incidents. I look at the way he is roaring, so angry at people. That was never him. There must be a pressure somewhere within Allan that needs to be vented somewhere else and needs to be sorted.
“He’s a winner, I get that, and he wants the Rangers fans to understand that he’s a Rangers man and that he cares about the whole thing, but his performances and his saves show that he cares and that he wants to win.
“It’s disappointing to see because the level he’s been playing at has been unbelievable; he’s the best goalkeeper in the country by a mile.
“But he’s screaming at defenders, coming charging out of his goal to get involved in incidents that have nothing to do with him and then there are the incidents he has been involved in – the Kris Ajer one, the one at Motherwell, the one at Aberdeen.
“I don’t understand what’s going through his head sometimes. He doesn’t need to show the Rangers fans he cares by doing stuff like this. His performances show that he cares and that he wants to win with Rangers.”
McGregor’s dismissal was Rangers’ ninth in the league this season, leaving them only one point above Hamilton Academical at the bottom of the SPFL Premiership Fair Play table.
That indiscipline must be addressed by the Ibrox management, according to Boyd.
“Steven Gerrard needs to sort it out and it isn’t a case of having a discussion to see what’s going on,” he said. “He needs to sort it and to show that he’s the boss.
“If you go back, would this have happened under a Graeme Souness or a Walter Smith [pictured]? No, you would still have had players sent off but I don’t think the red cards that have come this year would have happened under them.
“There is pressure playing for Rangers, especially right now when they’re not winning anything.
“That’s not an excuse but we all know that people react differently under pressure.
“I just look at Allan now and it’s a totally different guy to when I was a team-mate of his. There have been too many incidents. I look at the way he is roaring, so angry at people; that was never him.”
l Kris Boyd was speaking at The Kris Boyd Charity Golf Day at Trump Turnberry. The Boyd Charity raises funds and awareness for Mental Health.