David Martindale was left to rue a moment of magic from the ‘incredible’ Allan McGregor as Livingston suffered a 3-1 Scottish Premiership defeat to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers, speaking to the Daily Record.
Two games, two wins, five goals and only one conceded; Any fears that Rangers would suffer an immediate drop-off following Steven Gerrard’s departure for Aston Villa have been ruthlessly and emphatically dispelled .
But, make no mistake, McGregor’s role in securing successive wins under the new manager should not be underestimated.
Even against Sparta Prague on Thursday night, as Rangers produced arguably their most complete, most intense performance of the entire campaign, McGregor pulled off an outstanding double save late on to secure their place in the Europa League knock-out stages – not to mention a rare clean sheet.
And the 39-year-old proved once again that there is plenty of life left in this old dog at the Tony Macaroni Arena three days later, reacting at the speed of sound to tip a close-range Alan Forrest effort over the crossbar with the score at 2-1.
How long can Rangers rely on Allan McGregor?
“Allan McGregor pulled off a fantastic save,” said Martindale, who’s side would have cancelled out a couple of eye-catching finishes from Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo if it wasn’t for the ‘keeper’s heroics.
“Alan Forrest probably should have done a little bit better but had that gone in it would have been a different second half.
“Did McGregor’s save take the wind out of our sails? A little bit. You could have been going in at half-time at 2-2.”
The McGregor is not the only veteran shot-stopper rolling back the years north of the border. At 38, Craig Gordon is playing some of the best football of his career between the sticks with Hearts.
With the benefit of hindsight, you’d imagine that Celtic would have had second thoughts about releasing Gordon in the summer of 2020 while investing £4.5 million in Vasilis ‘butterfingers’ Barkas.
“It’s fantastic that we’re sitting with keepers in that age group who are absolutely incredible. The comparisons between the two of them (McGregor and Gordon) are there for all to see,” Martindale adds.
“I think it was a game-changing save (from McGregor). If Rangers go in at 2-2, it’s a totally different game in the second half.”
Fashion Sakala’s late header, his first since a clinical hat-trick against Motherwell, brought an end to Livi’s brave resistance as Rangers retained their four-point lead over Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.