WHEN quizzed on Rangers’ defensive upturn prior to the winter break, Allan McGregor was traditionally dry in his assessment.

“Not letting in any goals,” he said explaining his side's recent clean sheet record.

Continuing, the No.1 added: “Just defending better as a team probably, not giving away as many chances, although we did at Hearts to be fair. Doing better to keep the ball out of the net as a team. I know it’s an easy thing to say, but that’s the reality.”

While undoubtedly trying to remove any self-gratification from proceedings, McGregor is right to highlight the team’s collective improvement defensively. However, he too has experienced a dramatic form revival since the managerial change.

Rangers’ rolling xG and xG conceded trendline in the Scottish Premiership this season outlines the the team's enhanced form of late. Since Giovanni van Bronckhorst arrived, Rangers' rolling average has improved offensively and defensively. 

Rangers Review:

The previous run of conceding the first goal that lasted until Steven Gerrard's final game has swung to the other extreme. The Ibrox side have not only overcome that hoodoo, but they’ve also conceded just two goals in the nine games van Bronckhorst has overseen. For which McGregor deserves individual credit.

Last season, he overperformed considerably. A large part of the champions' record-breaking defensive record was owing to McGregor's performances. He saved 5.22 goals above average (GSAA) in the Premiership.

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GSAA is defined by StatsBomb as: “How many goals did the keeper save/concede versus expectation (post-shot xG faced)? This is representative of how many goals the goalkeeper's saves prevented within a season.”

Rangers Review:

That form dropped off in the early stages of this campaign. In the league matches he played this season under Gerrard, McGregor’s GSAA stood at -0.98. That statistic is quite the drop off from last season.

Rangers Review:

After seven games under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, that humber has risen to 2.88.

Rangers Review:

It took a single Europa League outing under van Bronckhorst for the 39-year-old's GSAA value to jump from -0.40 to 1.11 in that competition alone. The stunning double save he made in the final minutes against Sparta Prague was largely responsible for that increase.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

Rangers are defending in a new way, making them less predictable to attack. McGregor isn’t dropping out of the starting XI as frequently as he did in the early parts of this season. Outside factors aside, he has once again shown remarkable longevity which time and again defies expectation. 

As van Bronckhorst said after a 2-0 win over Hearts: “It is always good to have a good goalie in goal.” Especially when he's performing above expectation.