Giovanni Van Bronckhorst must stick with Jon McLaughlin despite tough start to Rangers season
When Rangers lined up against Livingston last weekend, the first major call of the season was made when Jon McLaughlin started in goal.
There wasn’t much he could do about the opening goal of the game as the ball was looped over his head, but it was soon forgotten when Scott Arfield and James Tavernier scored to take all 3 points back to Ibrox.
But in midweek during the Champions League qualifier in Belgium, his error cost the Gers the first goal and it was remembered as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat.
Now the talk ahead of the weekend clash with Kilmarnock on Saturday, before the second leg at Ibrox with Union Saint-Gilloise is about whether he should keep his place as the new number one or return the shirt to the legendary Allan McGregor.
McGregor was all set to walk away at the end of last season, getting a huge farewell and send off coming on as a late substitute in the Scottish Cup final.
But a summer u-turn meant he penned a new deal, which many assumed would mean he’d keep his place in the side. That obviously hasn’t happened.
However his presence continues to cast a shadow over McLaughlin in the net, and it has added even more pressure to the 34-year-old who joined from Sunderland in 2020 to replace him.
Van Bronckhorst faced similar questions midway through last season when McGregor went through a bad patch, but ultimately he stuck with the veteran and was justified when the 40-year-old turned in stunning performance after stunning performance.
It was that confidence in him from the boss that helped him stay on for another year, but now the manager must show the same confidence in McLaughlin.
This is football. Mistakes happen. If one mistake in two games is enough for you to lose your shirt, then the goalkeeper position will be like a game of hot potato this season at Rangers.
There is a reason why GvB opted to go with McLaughlin to begin with this season, and it’s because he believes he’s the best option for the team right now. That shouldn’t have changed already, because this is nothing we haven’t seen before.
Van Bronckhorst must stay firm, despite outside pressures, and keep McLaughlin in goal to let him play through this form to find out if he’s truly good enough to take over the gloves permanently. If he isn’t, he’ll soon let you know.
In other Rangers news, Kenny Miller slams “farce” following 2-0 defeat vs USG