Allan McGregor will become a European Centurion on Thursday night in the ground where his esteemed Rangers predecessor made his name.
It’s somewhat apt that the veteran goalkeeper will hit the latest landmark of his storied career – a 100th appearance in European club competition – in the Westfalenstadion four decades after Stefan Klos began his own hugely successful journey in Dortmund’s colossal ground.
Klos, who went on to make over 300 appearances for Rangers winning four titles, was a Champions League winner with the Bundesliga giants.
Ten years after that triumphed he handed the gloves to McGregor at Ibrox – and so began a record-breaking run for the man many hold as the greatest Rangers goalkeeper of all time – and who took his Euro bow in a goalless UEFA Cup first round trip to Mold.
Four of the previous 99 outings may have come during McGregor’s stint at Hull City.
But there’s no doubting the greatest moments have come in his 95 Euro ventures for Rangers, the majority of which – 51 – have come since his return to Ibrox just under four years ago.
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The pinnacle was a heroic performance in Bremen as Rangers romped towards the 2008 UEFA Cup Final. Cruelly McGregor was deprived of lining up on that glittering Manchester occasion by injury.
The shotsstopper became Rangers all-time record European appearance holder when he overtook Barry Ferguson’s 82 outings in a 3-2 Europa League victory over Standard Liege at Ibrox last season.
With 38 victories his Euro win rate funnily enough stands at 38 per cent. He’s been on the losing side just 27 times.
And in those 99 Euro matches the 40-year-old has kept 40 clean sheets for Rangers – plus another one for Hull.
One more this evening in Dortmund’s intense Westfalenstadion – which will have lost a chunk of its menace due to crowd covid restrictions – would see Gio van Bronckhorst’s side well on the way to a massive shock.
Here are 5 of McGregor’s top Euro moments for Rangers:
Molde 0 Rangers 0 – UEFA Cup 1st round, September 14, 2006:
A Euro debut clean sheet was earned with a string of fine saves in Norway, the pick two second half stops from Magne Hoseth and Stian Ohr. McGregor again excelled in the second leg in Glasgow as Rangers won 2-0.
Lyon 0 Rangers 3 – Champions League, October 2, 2007:
A sensational performance by Walter Smith’s men secured a famous win in France with McGregor and his defense excelling to keep Karim Benzema and co at bay. Gers would eventually drop into the UEFA Cup but it was the start of a memorable run to the final.
Werder Bremen 1 Rangers 0, UEFA Cup round of 16, March 13, 2008:
McGregor produced a one-man resistance as Smith’s side made their 2-0 first leg victory at Ibrox count to march on into the quarter finals. Markus Rosenberg and Daniel Jensen had both been denied in brilliant fashion by McGregor before he pulled off a remarkable save to tip Boubacar Sanogo’s point blank effort onto the bar with five minutes remaining.
Manchester United 0 Rangers 0, Champions League, September 14, 2010:
A famous draw against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Premier League champions as Wayne Rooney and co were shut out. McGregor and his defense stood firm under intense pressure to get their group stage campaign off to a positive start although they’d have to settle for third in the group and a spot in the Europa League.
Slavia Prague 1 Rangers 1, Europa League round of 16, March 11, 2021:
Back for a second spell at Ibrox and a key figure as Steven Gerrard led Gers to successive last 16 appearances in the Europa League, McGregor produced perhaps his greatest save to deny Lukas Masopust in the last minute, throwing himself low to his left to hold onto a point blank header with one hand. Slavia boss Jindrich Tripisovsky described it as better than Gordon Banks’ legendary save from Pele.