“There are too many big saves to name.”
Allan McGregor is set to make his 500th Rangers appearance on Saturday when Dundee United visit Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership.
At the youthful age of 41, the veteran goalkeeper is in the fifth season of his second spell with Rangers and if speculation is to be believed, he may not be finished just yet.
With 27 more games, McGregor would climb into the top 10 of Rangers’ all-time appearance makers. No mean feat.
“Allan McGregor’s contribution to Rangers over two spells has been absolutely huge,” added Rangers manager Michael Beale. “If he plays tomorrow he gets 500 appearances, all the trophies he’s won and the performances he’s put in over the years have been fantastic.”
BBC Scotland takes a look…
From academy to club great
A native of Edinburgh, McGregor came through the ranks at Hutchison Vale and Rangers before becoming first choice in the top team during Paul le Guen’s ill-fated reign at Ibrox.
After Walter Smith returned to the club in 2007, McGregor excelled, helping the club win the League Cup in 2008 with a penalty shootout win over Dundee United. However, injury prevented him from featuring in the Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg.
A year later, McGregor was dropped by club and country after disciplinary issues on international duty but was back in the Rangers first team at the start of the 2009-10 season, ending that campaign and the next as a league champion.
After leaving Ibrox in 2012 for a year with Besiktas, McGregor made his mark in England with Hull City and turned out for Cardiff City during a loan spell in 2017.
With Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Rangers boss came wholesale changes to a team that had struggled to third-placed finishes in the Scottish Premiership two years running. McGregor was the man Gerrard wanted to back up a new defence.
Domestic success was not instantaneous as Celtic continued to dominate in Scotland. However, McGregor was a key part of Rangers’ progress in Europe as the club established themselves as Europa League regulars.
And it was McGregor who secured 18 clean sheets as Rangers finally wrested the title from Celtic in 2021.
Rangers found themselves in another European final in 2022 and this time McGregor was fit and available to take part. Eintracht Frankfurt triumphed on penalties but McGregor would be part of a Scottish Cup-winning Rangers side days later, making a cameo appearance off the bench in what many believed would be his last game.
But a year-long extension was agreed to his Rangers stay and though starting the 2022-23 season as back-up to Jon McLaughlin, McGregor soon became first choice once again.
McGregor amassed 42 Scotland caps before retiring from international duty in 2018, his final appearance culminating in a stunning save that preserved a 3-2 lead against Israel in a crucial Nations League match. The Scots would go on to reach Euro 2020 via the Nations League play-offs.
How does McGregor compare?
McGregor has long surpassed Stefan Klos’ appearance record at Rangers and has won three more medals with Rangers than the German.
The late Andy Goram also did not feature as much for Rangers than McGregor has and also has 10 medals to McGregor’s 13. However, Goram did win one more league title and one more Scotland cap.
Compared to his Scotland contemporaries, Craig Gordon and David Marshall, Gordon is way out in front with 74 caps – a tally he may well add to after he recovers from injury – while Marshall played 47 times for his country before retiring from international duty.
All three have been playing in the Scottish Premiership this season, with Gordon picking up just one clean sheet on league duty with Hearts before being ruled out for the rest of the season. Marshall has eight shut-outs in the league, one more than McGregor.
What the fans say
We asked Rangers supporters who the club’s greatest goalkeeper was…
Lee: By far the greatest keeper we have had – McGregor is number one, with Stefan Klos a very close second.
Zeke: I believe Andy Goram is still Rangers’ best ever keeper but Allan McGregor definitely has a fighting argument for the top spot. Especially considering McGregor’s pivotal role in both the 2007/08 Europa League and 21/22 Europa League runs, but still all things considered Andy Goram tops it for me.Alex: McGregor is my favourite for longevity and saves out of this world. Andy Goram was special and could walk into any team. Klos was a German machine. All Rangers legends.
Moray: One of the hardest calls in picking the greatest Rangers goalie – both Goram and McGregor were outstanding in Old Firm games and won trophies galore. McGregor just edges it for performances in Europe, longevity and of course, saving penalties in three different decades against Celtic!Frazer: Klos and Goram are no doubt Rangers greats. However, with the increase in pace and athleticism in the game, I think I’d go with McGregor. The argument could then be whether Goram, with today’s fitness levels and facilities, would be even better than he was back then.
Can McGregor keep going?
Rangers manager Michael Beale
He plays a lot of golf though so maybe he sees himself joining a different type of schedule. All those things are open and actively being discussed behind the scenes.
Me and Allan have got a fantastic relationship. I think you can’t force coaching on any player regardless of how big their career is. If it’s an avenue he wants to go down… like a lot of our senior players we would want them to do that and help them whether that’s in the academy or top end of the club. So every avenue is open to Allan.
But at the moment he’s concentrating on playing – I think he’d say that himself.
Former Rangers defender Richard Foster
Goalkeeper’s a position where if you can still jump around and still catch the ball, you don’t need to run that far. He’s still producing the goods. He could possibly go for another few years yet.
He’s the kind of player that Rangers need in the dressing room because he drives the standards. He doesn’t allow people to slacken off even in train. He hates losing a goal in training.
McGregor’s a special goalkeeper because he makes the saves when you need him to.