Why Craig MacGillivray could be a handy signing for Rangers
The Ibrox giants, though, aren’t alone in their pursuit of the 26-year-old, who has also attracted interest from EFL Championship duo Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town due to his rich vein of form in the English third-tier. (h/t Scottish Sun)
The report adds that Gers boss Steven Gerrard is on the lookout for a new shot-stopper for the upcoming campaign and has identified MacGillivray as someone who fits the bill perfectly.
The Perthshire-born shot-stopper completed his footballing education at Harrowgate Railway Athletic in North Yorkshire and featured for the likes of Harrowgate Town, Wallsall, Stalybridge Celtic and Shrewsbury Town in the lower divisions before earning a coveted move to Portsmouth back in the summer of 2018.
The 26-year-old hasn’t looked back ever since and has gone on to make a big impression over the course of his stay at Fratton Park. MacGillivray clocked up as many as 17 clean sheets in 57 appearances across all competitions for Kenny Jackett’s side last term, playing a key role in Pompey’s march to the League One playoffs.
The Scottish shot-stopper also starred for the South-coast outfit during their EFL Trophy campaign last season, saving Lee Cattermole’s spot-kick in the penalty shootout in the final as Portsmouth beat Sunderland to claim silverware.
MacGillivray has continued in his role as Pompey’s undisputed No.1 between the sticks in League One this term as well, starting 15 out of the club’s 17 league fixtures so far. The 26-year-old has conceded 22 goals in 19 appearances across all competitions this season while keeping 6 clean sheets in the process.
Indeed, those make for some impressive readings on paper and Rangers’ interest in Craig MacGillivray certainly can’t be played down. The Gers currently have veteran Allan McGregor as their undisputed No.1 with Wes Foderingham as the designated understudy to the veteran but neither of them seems to represent a long-term solution.
McGregor, who is set to turn 38 next month, is out of contract at Ibrox in 2020 and while he is expected to be handed an extension to his current deal (h/t Scottish Sun), Rangers’ links with Craig MacGillivray is a clear indication of the fact that they are already planning for the future.
As per the report, Foderingham is also expected to depart Ibrox next summer in search of more regular playtime, meaning that Rangers would be well within their rights to look at the Pompey shot-stopper as the next understudy to McGregor, who is nearing the end of his days as a professional footballer at 38.
Andy Firth hasn’t really been in the first-team fold under Gerrard while Jak Alnwick, who is currently on loan at Blackpool in the EFL League One, also doesn’t seem to be a part of the manager’s plans moving forward.
Ideally, Rangers would be better off looking at a deal for MacGillivray in the summer of 2020 rather than in January, given that they have other areas of the squad that require some investment.
The Gers recently lost valuable ground to Celtic in the title race after dropping points in a 2-2 draw against Aberdeen and it would make perfect sense for Gerrard to concentrate on bringing in reinforcements in a bid to bolster his ranks during the mid-season trading period.
Rangers, though, could have their work cut out in completing a deal for MacGillivray in the summer given that Pompey have already slapped a £2.5m price tag on his head to ward off interest from elsewhere.
However, with the long-term goalkeeping situation at Ibrox somewhat volatile, Rangers shouldn’t hesitate to make such an outlay in the transfer market, with Craig MacGillivray looking more than capable of making the step up to the Scottish top-flight in the years to come.
The 26-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and his Scotland call-up earlier in the year seems like a clear sign of the kind of progress he has made in recent times.
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All in all, Rangers raiding Portsmouth for their No.1 next summer could prove to be a shrewd piece of business and one that could pay off handsomely in the future.