Fan Focus: Rangers writer Jack thinks ex-Sunderland keeper Jon McLaughlin will be their new No.1

Matthew Crichton: Rangers narrowly lost the Europa League final last season on penalties but it must have been an incredible journey and experience for the fans along the way, what were the factors that pushed the club so far?

Joshua Barrie: Steven Gerrard restored Rangers’ reputation as a European force and achieved a remarkably consistent upward trajectory on the continent during his time at the club. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s tactical variance and his ability to change in the game took the team to the next level, aided of course by the unique home atmosphere.

MC: Although Rangers lost the league, that was overshadowed by your success in Europe – do you think this season will be about reclaiming that title from Celtic?

JB: Decidedly, the race eclipsed what has been an extremely disappointing domestic season. The club hopes that with greater continuity and no management changes, they can regain the title.

MC: Giovanni van Bronckhorst has come to replace Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager, what has changed so far and do you think he is destined for long-term success with the club?

JB: He introduced a more direct style, employing a more traditional 4-3-3 and varying his game plan with greater regularity. The positive aspects of this approach have been highlighted in Europe, the challenge he has is to demonstrate he can build a successful possession-dominated side in Scotland.

Giovanni Van Bronkhorst won two Scottish Premier League titles with Rangers as a player.
Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images

MC: Alex Neil has previously faced Rangers as manager during his time in charge of Hamilton, what do you remember of his time there which saw the Scot become manager in England?

JB: He did a pretty impressive job with Hamilton and justified his move south, it’s always good to see Scottish representation in the English leagues.

MC: Jon McLaughlin joined Rangers from Sunderland in 2020, how would you describe his tenure at Glasgow so far?

JB: Many expect him to take over the No.1 position this summer from veteran Allan McGregor, who surprised everyone by extending his stay at the club. McLaughlin is a more modern goalkeeper, as evidenced in last season’s Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final when he played a vital role in the Celtic press.

MC: One of the clubs Ross Stewart has been linked with this summer is Rangers, is he someone you would like the club to consider signing?

JB: He clearly improved in the south but wouldn’t usurp Alfredo Morelos so for the price I don’t see that happening.

25/10/08 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUE .HAMILTON v RANGERS .NEW DOUGLAS PARK - HAMILTON .Hamilton's Alex Neil and Rangers' Pedro Mendes (Photo by Bill MurraySNS Group via Getty Images)

Alex Neil faced Rangers for Hamilton as a player and manager.
Photo by Bill MurraySNS Group via Getty Images

MC: Rangers have announced the signing of Tom Lawrence from Derby, do you think he will be a great replacement for Joe Aribo?

JB: Not necessarily, it’s not the same although I expect Lawrence to play in the middle. Initially I think he is set to provide depth, although given his direct style I can see him becoming an effective player domestically.

MC: Aside from the transfer mentioned above, are you happy with the other deals the club have done so far in the transfer window?

JB: It’s starting to pick up but a right winger remains a priority. Additionally, Morelos and Ryan Kent only have 12 months left on their contracts, which remains a concern for Support.

Rangers FC v Crvena Zvezda: round of 16 first leg - UEFA Europa League

Alfredo Morelos has scored 112 goals for Rangers since joining the club in 2017.
Photo by Mark Runnacles – UEFA/Getty Images

MC: It’s always hard to guess in pre-season, but which 11 players do you think will start and what style of play can Alex Neil’s side expect?

JB: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, King, Bassey, Lundstram, Lowry, Lawrence, Wright, Colak, Kent.

MC: There is always a debate whether pre-season is more about fitness or results, where do you think Van Bronkhorst stands?

JB: This pre-season is all about the new manager fully integrating his style of play without any interruptions. Coming into the mid-season last year was a tough thing to do.

MC: Finally, what is your prediction for the final score?

JB: 3-1 Rangers.