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Jon McLaughlin isn't Rangers' nailed on number one, says Steven Gerrard

 

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On target: Ryan Kent celebrates his goal with Northern Ireland international Steven Davis

On target: Ryan Kent celebrates his goal with Northern Ireland international Steven Davis

Getty Images

On target: Ryan Kent celebrates his goal with Northern Ireland international Steven Davis

Steven Gerrard insists Jon McLaughlin does not yet have the Rangers number one slot for keeps.

The former Sunderland and Hearts shot-stopper kept his fourth straight clean sheet during Saturday's 2-0 Premiership win over Kilmarnock.

It was a quiet afternoon for the 32-year old as Gers registered their fifth shut-out in as many games this term - equalling the club's all-time record run for a new campaign set back in 1929.

Gerrard will soon have a major decision to make on who starts in goal after welcoming former Scotland international Allan McGregor back into his matchday squad.

McGregor started against both Aberdeen and Bayer Leverkusen before a knee injury allowed McLaughlin his chance to impress after joining this summer.

With McGregor nearing full fitness, Gerrard anticipates a lively battle between both his goalkeepers in the months to come and asked if the jersey was now McLaughlin's to lose, the Ibrox manager - whose side claimed victory with goals from Kemar Roofe and Ryan Kent -said: "No not necessarily.

"Allan has only trained twice with us and in his first session he was still getting some sensations in the knee area, so there was no need for us to rush him back at his age.

"Allan McGregor has been absolutely fantastic for me. He's got tons of credit in the bank.

"I've now got two number ones and I'd have no doubts about playing either of them in any game.

"Come the end of the season we'll need to see how it pans out, but don't be surprised if people are rested and we go for a different keeper for a different game.

"It wasn't that I preferred Jon over Allan, it's just that Allan has missed two weeks and Jon has been training well and keeping clean sheets."

There was a surprise place for Brandon Barker in Gerrard's line-up as the winger registered just a sixth start since arriving from Manchester City last summer.

Gerrard said: "I'm pleased for him. That's his first full game in a long, long time with the injury problems he's had and not settling in places.

"He's earned his chance today. He's trained really well. We played a bounce game against Plymouth and he was really dangerous.

"He's showed me that he was ready for an opportunity. n the first half he had some real dangerous moments where he showed his pace. That's what we want him to do, show his attributes more -and he has got it.

"It's difficult for opposition players to handle Kent and Barker if they are both at it and on Saturday they were."

Kilmarnock, meanwhile, are still considering whether to hand their former midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu a third spell at Rugby Park.

Boss Alex Dyer said: "I'm not sure. I've kept in touch with him, as I always do.

"Hopefully he will do some training with us this week and then we will see."

Aberdeen's double early in the second half was enough to earn them a 2-1 win over Livingston and make it two victories from three Scottish Premiership games this season. Lewis Ferguson fired a penalty high into the net four minutes after the interval and Scott Wright added a second in the 55th minute.

Scott Pittman pulled a goal back to set up a tense finale in which Livi had an appeal for a penalty turned down, but the Dons held firm.

And Stevie Mallan's cool penalty in stoppage time gave Hibernian a 1-0 win at St Johnstone to move the Easter Road side level on points with Rangers at the top of the table.

PWDLFAPts

Rangers54109013

Hibernian54108213

Ross County5221658

Celtic3210727

Dundee United5212447

St Mirren4211347

Aberdeen3201326

St Johnstone5113374

Hamilton4103273

Motherwell5023252

Kilmarnock5023592

Livingston5023492

Belfast Telegraph


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