Jon McLaughlin 'definitely ready' to be Rangers No.1, insists former Ibrox shot-stopper

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Jon McLaughlin 'definitely ready' to be Rangers No.1, insists former Ibrox shot-stopper
Jon McLaughlin 'definitely ready' to be Rangers No.1, insists former Ibrox shot-stopper

FORMER Rangers goalkeeper Cammy Bell insists that Jon McLaughlin is ready to be Giovanni van Bronckhorst's No.1 at Ibrox with Allan McGregor's future still unresolved.

McGregor, 40, is out of contract and is considering his playing future, although the veteran shot-stopper could be offered a player/coach role for the new campaign.

The uncertainty surrounding the fans' favourite has led to speculation over the goalkeeping position, with some supporters keen to see the club bring in a new recruit to challenge for the jersey.

However, Bell - who played for Rangers between 2013 and 2016 - believes that McLaughlin, who has served as McGregor's understudy for the last two seasons, deserves a run in the team.

“Jon has all the qualities to be a top keeper for Rangers," he told the Daily Record. "He has shown that already in big games and especially the Scottish Cup run.

“He has everything to be a Rangers keeper. Maybe he just needs a run of 20-30 games consistently and then we could see how he reacts to the pressure of doing it week in, week out.

“But he is definitely ready to be Rangers’ first choice. If he gets the opportunity then I’m sure he will grab it. He’d be really disappointed if he never got that opportunity.

“It’s a real make-or-break summer for him and he’ll be going into pre-season thinking ‘this is my chance’.

“Of course if Greegsy decides to stay on then I can’t imagine he’d settle for being a No.2 so Jon would face another massive battle for the gloves. But he definitely deserves the chance.

“His stats are incredible. The number of clean sheets he consistently keeps. Jon is a calming influence and his personality is perfect for a job of that size. He’s a laidback character and never looks flustered.

“He’s commanding and will come out and take crosses to relieve the pressure. He’s good with his feet and distribution is excellent. He can make big saves. But can he make the big, big match-winning saves like Greegsy? That’s still a question.

“The saves Allan has made all his career to win trophies and get through big ties in Europe and the type of saves that can turn a game on its head. Jon just needs the chance to show he can make them too.

“Being back-up goalkeeper is difficult. I was second choice for a season behind Wes Foderingham. I had been injured and Wes came in, took the gloves and his opportunity. Wes is a good guy and was playing fantastic. All goalkeepers support each other.

“But each week and each game you have to prepare yourself mentally just in case you need to step in even if you might not be called upon for the entire season.

“Then you feel like you have to produce a faultless performance. To be fair Jon has done that. I’m sure the manager has 100 per cent faith in him. Keeping him in place for the Cup semi-final against Celtic and the final against Hearts showed that.

“You’ve got to remember he has been competing against one of the greatest goalkeepers in Scottish history. So it’s been a difficult task for him getting an opportunity.

“But I’m sure he will be a real good No.1 for Rangers and with a run of games then he will get even better.”

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