By Jason Jones

11th Aug, 2020 | 1:00pm

Ibrox View: Does McLaughlin deserve to keep Rangers number one spot v St. Johnstone?

There were a few eyebrows raised when Rangers lined up with Jon McLaughlin between the sticks instead of Allan McGregor on Sunday afternoon. 

It transpired that the veteran stopper had picked up a knock against Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday evening, and was not available for the 3-0 win over St. Mirren.

Speaking after the match, Steven Gerrard did suggest that he expects his number one to be fit enough to feature against St. Johnstone in midweek.

But with his 32-year-old deputy keeping another clean sheet – his third since arriving at Ibrox and his first in a competitive match – does McGregor deserve to walk straight back into the side?

The early stats from this season would suggest that the two stoppers are actually pretty equal when it comes to how they are performing at the moment.

Focussing on their last outing, we can see that they each faced two shots and each made one reflex save, as per Wyscout.

McGregor obviously conceded against Leverkusen, whereas McLaughlin didn’t against St. Mirren, but in fairness to the number one, he faced an xCG that was 0.53 higher than his colleague did on Sunday.

There is one area where McLaughlin excels though.

Against St. Mirren, he made 27 short passes with a completion rate of 100%, as pictured above.

It’s no fluke either.

Against Lyon in preseason, he completed 100% of his short passes, and had a long pass completion rate of 83%, as per Wyscout.

To put that number in perspective, it’s 19.4% higher than McGregor’s season average for 2019/20.

It’s not like he struggles with his shot stopping either.

The first effort in the visual above has an xG of 0.32, the same number that McGregor’s one reflex save against Leverkusen had on Thursday night.

And if Gerrard feels that building from the back could be a useful tool against a side like St. Johnstone, who had just over 30% possession when the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in February, then he could opt for a keeper who has yet to put a foot wrong in his short distribution.

That being said, don’t be surprised to see McGregor get the nod on Wednesday.

He’s a hero at Ibrox and he has a lot of trust and goodwill in the bank.

But it’s important to acknowledge how capable McLaughlin is too.

The gap between the two is narrow, and it could grow narrower still.

In other Rangers news, Darren Fletcher has backed this Gers talent for big season in 20/21 after impressive showing v Aberdeen.