Ibrox View: Stunning Sunday intervention from Rangers ace reiterates enormous importance
Rangers finally had something to smile about again as they beat Ross County 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
By no means was this a perfect performance, and it took a deflected Ryan Kent effort to finally break the deadlock deep into the second half, but after a week that saw them crash out of the Scottish Cup and then slip up at home to lowly Hamilton, three points were a welcome tonic.
Things could have been a whole lot different, however, were it not for the intervention of veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
The 38-year-old made a stunning save to deny Billy Mckay with his feet, and perhaps the biggest compliment you can pay to the stopper is that this kind of thing is in no way out of the ordinary.
As per Wyscout, McGregor makes an average of 2.32 reflex saves per game, and despite his advancing years, he is showing no signs of slowing down.
48.5% of McGregor’s stops fall into the category of reflex saves, and even as his side has struggled in recent weeks, he has kept up his ridiculously highs standards.
Against Hamilton in midweek, for instance, he made two reflex saves, including a fine tip over the bar to deny a close range header, as can be seen above.
But even more impressive is the fact that McGregor is still able to get down low with the agility of a man half his age.
In the image below, for example, which was taken during the 1-0 win over Livingston in mid-February, you would be forgiven for being sceptical that McGregor managed to stop that ball with his right palm, given the proximity to his body and the closeness from which it has been struck – and yet he did.
The disparity between McGregor’s expected goals conceded this season (0.91), and his actual goals conceded per game (0.86), may be fairly narrow, but those numbers really don’t seem to do justice as to just how crucial some of his interventions have been this term.
Taking Sunday as an example, without that save to deny McKay, the Gers would almost certainly have dropped two points that the could ill-afford to.
In short, McGregor is superb, and it will be a sad, frightening day when he does decide to hang up his gloves.
In other Rangers news, Ibrox View: Andy Walker jibe at ‘overweight’ Gers star is surely out of line.