Jak Alnwick made only his third appearance for Rangers in Tuesday night’s 3-1 Betfred Cup quarter-final win at Partick Thistle. And it’s fair to say the 24-year-old, who joined from Port Vale in January, seized his opportunity in style.
Alnwick made two fantastic saves with the score at 0-0, keeping out Connor Salmon with a remarkable near-post reflex stop to offer a timely reminder of his qualities to Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha.
It was a long night for Rangers, who only sealed their place in the semi-finals thanks to extra-time goals from summer signings Eduardo Herrera and Daniel Candeias after Kris Doolan’s 90th minute equaliser cancelled out a Carlos Pena header. However, if it wasn’t for the superb form of the seldom-seen Alnwick between the sticks, a fraught encounter could have been even more nerve-shredding.
And the performance of the former Newcastle United youngster should remind Rangers’ first-choice ‘keeper Wes Foderingham that he should not get overly comfortable between the sticks.
Foderingham only really started to win over the majority of supporters midway through last season though the fact that The Ibrox giants have conceded eight league goals from eleven shots on target in 2017/18 doesn’t paint the former Swindon ‘keeper in the best light.
And there’s little doubting that Alnwick’s first-rate denial to keep Salmon off the scoresheet was better than anything Foderingham has pulled off in the first few weeks of the new campaign.
Alnwick has been little more than a back-up in his eight months at Ibrox but he has done a fine job of reminding Caixinha that he offers so much more.