Neil Alexander knows what it’s like to play second fiddle to Allan McGregor.
Which is why the former Rangers keeper always suspected Wes Foderingham would be dragged into a battle that could never be won from the moment McGregor arrived back at the Ibrox club.
The Englishman left the club this week, after two years stuck on the sidelines, and accused boss Steven Gerrard of freezing him out of the first team.
And Alexander, who made it all the way to a UEFA Cup Final in Manchester during his days as McGregor’s wing man, said: “I do feel so sorry for Wes as it’s horrible being a No.2, especially when you’re a No.2 to a guy as talented as Allan.
“But I was luckier than Wes because I managed to play in some really big games and those games always gave me the encouragement that it might happen again.
“Allan was younger back then and he’d pick up injuries from time to time. Now he’s older and wiser he’s probably learned how to look after himself a bit more and take better care of his body.
“During my time I always felt there would be an opportunity for me to get a game. But that’s not been the case for Wes.
“It makes a huge difference knowing there’s a carrot at the end because if there’s nothing to look forward to then you feel like you’re only there to make the numbers up in training.
“Wes is an excellent keeper who has never let Rangers down but my six years at Rangers would have been a totally different experience if I hadn’t go my opportunities.
“I was lucky that I came into a fantastic dressing room with top players and we had a lot of success.
“It was cup final after cup final, title after title. It was a great era before the club slipped into administration. But Wes had to come up through the ranks. He never got to experience all the highs that I did.”
Pat Mountain also knows first hand why Foderingham was frozen out at Rangers and his Ibrox career hit a brick wall because of McGregor.
The former Hull goalkeeping coach had seen it all before during a spell with the Tigers as McGregor climbed from the first-team wilderness to cemented-down first choice.
Mountain said: “Wes will leave Rangers with a sense of grievance but he was always facing a losing battle once Greegsy went back up the road to Glasgow.
“When I arrived at Hull Greegsy probably felt he would be on his way as he had Eldin Jakupovic in front of him and David Marshall who we’d bought from Cardiff for a lot of money.
“Jakupovic landed a move to Leicester and Marsh injured his ankle in pre-season so Greegsy went from thinking he’s leaving to being the No.1.
“I know he has a bit of a reputation but he’s the ultra professional. He was one of the first in for training every day and he got his body right every day.
“He never missed a single day of training during my entire time there. There were days when I had to actually stop him from training.
“His appetite for work was incredible and that’s why he’s still at the top of his game at the age of 38.
“If there is one word to describe what his biggest asset is then it’s consistency. He doesn’t put himself in a position to make many mistakes.
“You knew you could count on him on a Saturday.”
Mountain believes McGregor’s excellence over the last two terms is a backhanded compliment to the understudy breathing down his neck.
He added: “It helped Allan massively that he had David Marshall at Hull to push him and keep the pressure on.
“Marsh would have been the No.1 the season before and now he was on the bench.
“It was ridiculous to have someone of his ability on the bench but that was the measure of how good Alan was.
“Any time he allowed his guard to drop Marsh would be in there and he would stay in.
“Allan’s mindset would have been exactly the same with Wes. He couldn’t drop his guard as Wes is another excellent keeper and if he was to get in then he’d probably have stayed in.
“Allan’s mentally so strong that he was never going to give Wes that chance to get in.
“You effectively have two No.1 keepers bringing out the best in each other from Monday to Friday. That pushes the standard up. That’s how you get consistency of performance in games.
“Rangers are a massive club so surely it’s only right they have two No.1 keepers battling it out. I’ve found most goalkeepers to be ultra respectful of one another, there aren’t that many di**heads.
“When Greegsy thought he was the third choice it didn’t change how he trained. Then one month later he was first choice and it all comes down to respect.”