Alexander surprised by ban

Keeper ready to step up in place of suspended McGregor

Alexander: Surprised by 'harsh' ban

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Neil Alexander feels the retrospective one-match ban slapped on fellow Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor by the Scottish Football Association was too harsh.

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"I've got my own views on it and I don't want to get myself into trouble too but I think it's a bit harsh."

Neil Alexander

Quotes of the week

But the reserve keeper has told manager Walter Smith he is ready to take the gloves if called upon for Saturday's SPL visit of Motherwell.

McGregor was found guilty of kicking out at Aberdeen striker Chris Maguire during the win at Pittodrie last month after the incident was brought to the attention of the SFA's video review panel.

His absence paves the way for 32-year-old Alexander, who made his first appearance of the season in last month's Co-operative Insurance Cup victory against Dunfermline, to win a chance between the sticks.

Chance

"It's good for me because it gives me a chance to play and hopefully we'll do well and go on to get three points," said Alexander.

"This is my first day back since I heard about Allan so I've yet to hear if I'll be playing or not.

"But I'd like to think that if he is out I'll get the nod and I'm looking forward to playing if that's what happens.

"I've got a target to aim for so I'll train from now until Saturday, get my head down, work hard and make sure every part of my game is as good as I want it to be.

"I must say though I was very surprised in general with the outcome of everything and it's the first time this sort of thing has happened in a while.

"I've got my own views on it and I don't want to get myself into trouble too but I think it's a bit harsh."

Gers No.1 McGregor has been deputising for Craig Gordon in the Scotland set-up while the regular first choice shot-stopper recovers from a broken arm.

And after witnessing his impressive display for Scotland against the Czech Republic in their 1-0 Euro 2012 qualifying defeat on Friday, Alexander feels his team-mate could soon be challenging Gordon for the gloves full-time.

"I was very impressed. That's what Allan does every week for Rangers," Alexander, who is set to sign a new three-year deal with the Scottish champions, told the club's official website.

Depth

"Everyone knows what he is capable of and he went and did it all again at international level.

"As a goalkeeper, the games where you are busy and making lots of saves are the ones you enjoy.

"That would have been the case with Allan but I know he'll have been disappointed at losing a goal from a set piece.

He added: "The goalkeeping position for Scotland is one which is very strong and it's one of the best areas we've got. There's strength in depth there.

"Craig is coming back again after his injury so Allan will have to keep up his good performances to stay in the jersey.

"I'm sure he will be busy tomorrow night (against Spain) so if he has a good game and makes lots of saves, I'm sure it'll be difficult for Craig Levein to leave him out."