Steven Gerrard hails role of veteran keeper

If Rangers can lay the foundations for a title challenge by securing victory at Hearts this afternoon, Steven Gerrard won't seek credit for a move that has been one of the cornerstones for the Ibrox side's rebuild.

Steven Gerrard congratulates Allan McGregor after Villarreal draw. Pic: SNS

The pursuit of Allan McGregor was well under way before Gerrard was appointed in May, and the former England captain is lavish in his praise of the club’s director of football Mark Allen for acquiring McGregor on a free. I can’t believe it [We got him for free],” said the Ibrox manager. “I think it is a stroke of genius from Mark Allen, I really do.”

McGregor will be 37 next month. Only that fact prevents the Scotland keeper, who produced two stupendous saves to earn his side a scoreless draw with Villarreal in the Europa League on Thursday night, being considered a multi-million pound performer for Gerrard: “If you could knock a decade off him, he would be worth a hell of a lot of money. And he could comfortably go into most teams, or be part of most teams for sure.”

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Meanwhile, Gerrard is expecting “a wicked little atmosphere” at Tynecastle at lunchtime today.

“I don’t mind that, I am all for that, I used to love playing in those ones. I am sure it will be feisty at times this weekend. There are two good teams, up there in the league.

“Hearts’ form has suffered slightly because they have had some injuries to good players, but they are a good team – especially at home. So it is a tough test for us – but a fantastic test for us.”