At points last season many began to wonder if Father Time would ever catch up with Allan McGregor.
There was the outrageous Slavia stop and before that the time he turned off the Glasgow gravity to get to a Leigh Griffiths long ranger against Celtic.
Physics seemingly defied between the posts on a regular basis. And a cult Rangers hero that personified the spirit of last season’s Invincible league champions.
But neither of those qualities were evident in the figure that meekly allowed Kaiyne Woolery’s low, near-post shot to squeeze into the net on Sunday afternoon against Motherwell.
As hard as it may be for fans to accept, and despite three separate occasions where the Rangers manager of the time has come out to bat for McGregor post-match this season, we could be witnessing his final months at Ibrox or any other stadium.
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It’s up to McGregor alone to decide if he has it in him mentally and physically to continue playing for Rangers.
But equally it’s over to Gio van Bronckhorst and his team to identify other candidates for the post of Ibrox No.1 if he opts to hang up the gloves – here are four who fit the bill.
The Swiss shot-stopper has just months left to run on his Dundee United contract and Tannadice chief Tony Asghar has a job on his hands to convince him to sign fresh terms.
Performances this season have marked him out as one of the top flight’s best keepers and that’s evident in the big showings he’s come up with against both halves of Glasgow’s divide.
Van Bronckhorst’s men were foiled by him just over a week ago in the 1-1 draw while Celtic forced him into making a whopping seven saves before finally breaking his resistance in the 90th minute.
A save percentage of 75.8 per cent puts him comfortably in the top flight’s top three and far ahead of McGregor.
Rangers were linked with him in January though at the same time it was reported there was interest from down south too.
Schalke 04 are in danger of becoming a club in eternal decline.
And thus the temptation to rip it all up and start anew will probably be too good to resist if they cannot win promotion back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking this season.
After all, it was persistence and patience that led to Veltins-Arena figures ignoring the warning signs and allowing last season’s riot-prompting relegation.
Keeper Martin Fraisl was linked to Rangers earlier this month and he’s been a surprise bright spot this season after taking over from long time custodian Ralf Fahrmann.
But it seems club chiefs are ready to dig deep for ‘the Miners’ this summer as they sit fifth in the table.
Only the top two get automatic promotion in Germany with third place entering into a play-off with third-bottom in the top flight.
With sporting director Rouven Schroder admitting Schalke won’t be talking with Fraisl any time soon about a new deal that makes him primed for a move to Ibrox.
Formerly an Auchenhowie youth graduate, current Motherwell keeper Kelly is having an excellent season and that continued into Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Ibrox.
Included in his seven-save performance was a complete worldie to deny James Tavernier’s arcing strike but those ‘wow’ moments are becoming a regular occurrence for Graham Alexander’s main man.
At just 26 he’s got plenty of peak years ahead of him and he’s not just a shot-stopper either.
If Van Bronckhorst wants to go down the route of a keeper capable of playing out the back Kelly is a great option.
Highly regarded in the international setup, Kelly has made some of Steve Clarke’s recent Scotland squads but missed out in November with Zander Clark preferred, though given their teams’ contrasting fortunes since it remains to be seen if that will still be the case for the March playoffs.
After being cut adrift in 2018 it would be the stuff of fairytales if Kelly, largely seen as a great influence on the dressing rooms he enters, were to return to that of Ibrox.
But this one wouldn’t come cheap – with a contract currently set to run until 2024 Kelly would command a decent fee.
Formerly PSV Eindhoven’s long-time keeper, Dutchman Zoet has since moved to Serie A with relegation threatened Spezia.
Despite being the current holder of the No.1 jersey he’s struggled for game time with Ivan Provedel now the de facto first choice.
A renewal for his expiring contract is said to be in the works.
But what if countryman Van Bronckhorst was to arrive on the scene, promising European football in front of 50,000 adoring fans?
If it tempted Aaron Ramsey then there’s every chance Zoet, who hath 11 Dutch caps to his name, may be interested.
And being able to work with such a famous name from his homeland is something of a trump card.
Van Bronckhorst will be in a good place to judge having seen Zoet between the sticks for PSV – winning three Eredivisie titles at the expense of his beloved Feyenoord.
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