Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor labelled a 'freak' as Scott Arfield gives lowdown on hero stopper

They may not be words automatically recognised as terms of endearment.

Allan McGregor's influence on Rangers' title-winning season and successful Europa League campaign has been praised by team-mate Scott Arfield. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

But Scott Arfield could not hold his Rangers team-mate Allan McGregor in any higher regard when he describes him as a ‘freak’ and a ‘monster’.

Veteran goalkeeper McGregor’s stupendous 90th minute save in last week’s 1-1 draw away to Slavia Prague has put his side in a positive position to win their Europa League last 16 tie in the return fixture against the Czech champions at Ibrox on Thursday night.

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Arfield has no doubts Rangers’ current status as undefeated Premiership title winners, bidding to reach a first European quarter-final for 13 years, is largely down to the influence of McGregor which the midfielder hopes will be extended beyond the expiry of his current contract this summer.

Scott Arfield celebrating at the Rangers training ground last week after the Ibrox club were confirmed as the new Scottish Premiership champions. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“His age is irrelevant because you get these kinds of freak athletes that age doesn't matter to them,” says Arfield of 39-year-old McGregor.

“Allan is certainly one of them. The longer he stays at Rangers putting in those kinds of performances, the better this football club will be.

“He’s not just the important player that people see on a matchday. Around the place, he is an icon of this football club. His performance levels have been so consistent since he’s come back.

“He pulls off big saves like last Thursday night on a regular basis. We would not be where we are without him putting in those kinds of performances.

“It was a phenomenal save. I remember playing for Burnley against Manchester United at Old Trafford back in 2016 and Tom Heaton made 10 saves in the game and we drew 0-0. That was probably the best goalkeeping performance that I have ever been a part of.

“But in terms of a single save, Allan’s against Slavia Prague has to be the best. Everyone in the stadium thought the ball was going in until the big man pulled out his arm and made the save. What a goalkeeper. We are extremely lucky to have him behind us, shouting at us and helping us reach the standards we need to reach.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s training or a game, his demands are always the same. You need that as a goalkeeper, particularly at a club like this where demands are high. Off the pitch, he’s a wee bit more quiet, a wee bit more chilled but as soon as he sees that white line he just turns into a monster.”

McGregor retired from international duty with Scotland two years ago to prolong his club career. Arfield, now 32, has not played for Canada since the end of 2019 as he focused fully on Rangers and while he has not made a final decision on his international future, he has again been left out of the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Bermuda and Cayman Islands in Florida at the end of this month.

“The journeys do take a toll, I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Arfield. “I don’t regret one bit of the decision I made to play for Canada. I feel extremely lucky to be able to represent my father’s birthplace.

“I won’t be involved this month and we are just taking it day by day to see where that takes us in the future.”

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