Neil McCann baffled on BBC Sportscene at Steven Davis and Jon McLaughin mess in Rangers v Celtic
Neil McCann was left bemused by Rangers midfielder Steven Davis getting Jon McLaughlin to commit a huge error in the thrashing at Celtic.
The Gers keeper passed the ball straight to David Turnbull late on at Parkhead, who slotted in for the fourth in a devastating 4-0 defeat, calling into question Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s decision to elevate the 34-year-old over long-time number one Allan McGregor this season.
Former Ibrox winger McCann felt the man on the bench could have done better in the game but questioned Northern Ireland international Davis’ role in the mess, directing his keeper to make the doomed pass, and the apparent lack of preparation to play out from the back.
Asked about the goalkeeper situation at Ibrox by Steven Thompson live on BBC Sportscene on Saturday evening (3 September, 7.59pm) McCann said: “It’s a difficult one because I think Allan McGregor saves a couple of these.
“This is the fourth. Davis is pointing there, so although Jon McLaughlin is going to be absolutely battered for this on first view… But you look at Davis, I don’t know what he’s pointing at.
“I don’t know what he’s indicating to him. ‘I want it in there’? Does he expect Ryan Jack to get on it? Does he want a more punctured pass through to Scott Wright? I’m not really sure.”
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Thompson interjected to say: “But regardless of all of that, Jon McLaughlin’s still got to make a better decision. He can go long if he wants.”
Then ex-Hoops player Simon Donnelly added: “The weight of the pass as well. It’s not as if he’s fizzed it and it’s been intercepted, he’s rolled it in softly.”
McCann responded: “Do you know what that is Simon? That’s a pass [where] I’m changing my mind just in the motion. He realises this isn’t on.
“It looked today as if Rangers hadn’t worked on [playing from the back], but Celtic certainly had because they knew Rangers were going to do it.”
The last goal was emblematic of a terrible display in the first Old Firm of the season, instantly confirming the suspicions some fans held that the transfer window hadn’t completed the squad, and giving Ange Postecoglou’s side a major psychological boost.
It was reminiscent of the first-half in the same fixture in January with the added embarrassment of the late, self-inflicted fourth, and if they really hadn’t prepared adequately it is mindblowing.
What Davis wanted only he will know, but McLaughlin has eyes and surely could have seen it wasn’t going to work.
It is somewhat of a surprise that when 40-year-old McGregor eventually decided to delay retirement and come back for another year he was then consigned to the bench.
He surely wouldn’t have come so close to ending his playing career if he wasn’t serious about it and a final season in the relative obscurity of second choice surely wouldn’t have tempted him back either.
But his presence in goal on Saturday wouldn’t have rescued Gers in what was an abject performance that looked like they had never played in an Old Firm game before.
There is a lot to work on after that, and a hugely improved performance is going to be required for the long-awaited return to the Champions League group stage against Ajax on Wednesday (7 September).
In other Rangers news, Jim White has delivered a damning verdict after what he saw at Celtic Park.