Happy Birthday to Allan McGregor, who will be 34 today. It’s fair to say that Allan’s football career has been full of ups and downs and although some of them have been self-inflicted, what can’t be doubted is that, he is a great shot stopping goalkeeper. It is perhaps unfortunate timing for him, that Scotland find themselves blessed with not one but three good goalkeepers all at the one time. If only, it was centre forwards instead.
Allan was first capped by ex-Rangers boss Alex McLeish in a friendly against Austria in May 2007 and would play in only the first half with Craig Gordon swapping over, as is the way in friendlies it seems. Charlie Adam and Alan Hutton would also make their debuts that night. Scotland won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Garry O’Connor.
Craig Gordon would remain as the first choice goalkeeper giving McGregor so few opportunities until George Burley picked him to start against Argentina in a friendly and then Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier in March 2009. However, after this 3-0 defeat, McGregor indulged in a late night drinking session with Barry Ferguson, known as ‘Boozegate’ that would see both banned from the Scotland set-up for life it seemed.
Craig Levein would rescind this upon taking helm of the Scotland team and McGregor was given a game against Sweden in Solna. Although Scotland lost 3-0 nil, MacGregor’s own performance was good enough for Levein to make him first choice goalkeeper.
McGregor would play in the first four games of Scotland’s qualifiers for Euro 2012 including that 1-0 defeat to the Czech Republic and the narrow 3-2 defeat to Spain at Hampden. MacGregor would perform greatly in both of these games. Gordon would be brought back for the game against the Faroes and then McGregor took over for the rest of Levein’s torturous tenure in charge of the team. By cap number 22 McGregor was a Besiktas of Turkey player having left Rangers following their financial collapse. Ironically, McGregor was injured only 23 minutes into this friendly against Australia at Easter Road and was replaced by Matthew Gilks of Blackpool his only rival for the goalkeeping spot due to Craig Gordon’s continuing injury problems.
Gordon Strachan had McGregor back in goals for his first game in charge and would initially see him as first choice. However. McGregor moved to Hull City in July, 2013 and soon found his place in the Scotland team taken over by David Marshall of Cardiff City. He has made some high level mistakes and at some points lost his place in the Hull team which has led in part to Marshall being first choice for Strachan.
McGregor played in Scotland’s last game, the 6-0 defeat of Gibraltar in Faro and it would come as no surprise if Gordon were to go with him again when the friendlies in March come about and I’m sure Allan wouldn’t let us down if he were to become first choice again.
Happy Birthday Allan.