Rangers boss gives his view on McLaughlin v McGregor

Goalkeeping dilemma is a welcome headache for Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard congratulates Jon McLaughlin after his clean sheet against Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Saturday. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS Group
Steven Gerrard congratulates Jon McLaughlin after his clean sheet against Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Saturday. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS Group

Steven Gerrard insists Jon McLaughlin does not yet have the Rangers number one slot for keeps.

The former Sunderland and Hearts shot-stopper kept his fourth straight clean sheet during Saturday’s 2-0 Premiership win over Kilmarnock.

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It was a quiet afternoon for the 32-year old as Rangers registered their fifth shut-out in as many games this term – equalling the club’s all-time record run for a new campaign set back in 1929.

But Gerrard will soon have a major decision to make on who starts in goal after welcoming Allan McGregor back into his matchday squad.

The former Scotland international started against both Aberdeen and Bayer Leverkusen before a knee injury allowed McLaughlin his chance to impress after joining this summer. But with McGregor nearing full fitness, Gerrard anticipates a lively battle between both his goalkeepers in the months to come.

Asked if the jersey was now McLaughlin’s to lose, the Ibrox manager said: “No not necessarily. Allan has only trained twice with us and in his first session he was still getting some sensations in the knee area, so there was no need to rush Allan back at his age.

“Allan McGregor has been absolutely fantastic for me. He’s got tons of credit in the bank. I’ve got two number ones and I’d have no doubts about playing either of them in any game.

“Come the end of the season we’ll need to see how it pans out but don’t be surprised if people are rested and we go for a different keeper for a different game.

“It wasn’t that I preferred Jon over Allan, it’s just that Allan has missed two weeks and Jon has been training well and keeping clean sheets.”

There was a surprise place for Brandon Barker in Gerrard’s line-up as the winger registered just a sixth start since arriving from Manchester City last summer.

But Gerrard said: “I’m pleased for him. I think that’s his first full game in a long, long time with the injury problems he’s had and not settling in places. He’s earned his chance today. He’s trained really well.

“It’s difficult for opposition players to handle [Ryan] Kent and Barker if they are both at it and on Saturday they were.”

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