Scot Gemmill: Too early to say if Ross McCrorie can be Scotland hero

Scot Gemmill reckons it is too early to say if Ross McCrorie will become an Tartan Army hero but believes he is ready for a first-team run at Rangers.

Ross McCrorie enjoyed his first start for Rangers in the white-hot atmosphere of an Old Firm clash. Picture: SNS Group
Ross McCrorie enjoyed his first start for Rangers in the white-hot atmosphere of an Old Firm clash. Picture: SNS Group

The 19-year-old was handed a baptism of fire as he made his first Gers start during Saturday’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox.

While his side sank to a 2-0 defeat, McCrorie’s Scotland Under-21 boss Gemmill was left impressed by the way the teenager handled both Hoops frontman Leigh Griffiths and the white-hot derby atmosphere.

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McCrorie tackles Celtic forward Moussa Dembele. Picture: Getty Images

Light Blues boss Pedro Caixinha has already declared his belief that his youngster can become “one of the best centre-halves in history” for club and country.

Gemmill was not prepared to go as far as that after naming McCrorie in his squad for next month’s Euro 2019 qualifier against England - but he will not rule it out either.

“I think it’s brilliant that Ross got to play in such a big game and that he was trusted to do so,” said Gemmill.

“He’s been waiting for his big opportunity but he really stepped up to the plate and put in a real solid performance. I’m delighted for him.

Scotland u21 boss Scot Gemmill isn't sure if McCrorie will be a Scotland hero. Picture: SNS Group

“I think it’s still really early to say [he can be one of the best defender in Rangers and Scotland’s history] but it’s a great compliment to Ross that his manager speaks so highly of him.

“All these players are trying to play at the top level and show their ambitions. It’s our job to help them achieve that.

“Ross has played for us at Under-16s through to the 21s. Anyone who’s seen him through that period would have been in no doubt he could handle the Old Firm game.

McCrorie tackles Celtic forward Moussa Dembele. Picture: Getty Images

“The fact his manager trusted him to play in such a big game will hopefully give Ross that extra confidence. He didn’t let his manager down, that’s for sure.

“I know Ross is extremely ambitious to play at the top level. It’s harder to get those first-team opportunities at the bigger clubs but he certainly got off to a great start.”

Gemmill will have to do without Celtic defender Anthony Ralston for the showdown with the Auld Enemy at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on October 6 after being informed by Parkhead chiefs he was “unavailable”.

Scotland u21 boss Scot Gemmill isn't sure if McCrorie will be a Scotland hero. Picture: SNS Group

But Hamilton’s Greg Docherty has been given a recall after the Accies man admitted he would have to consider switching allegiances to Ireland if he continued to be overlooked.

“I’ve said all along the door is shut on nobody and the Ireland rumours were never a worry to be honest,” said Gemmill, who has also handed a first call-up to Motherwell’s Alan Campbell.

“I’m not sure how serious the interest was but as far as I’m concerned Greg played for us last season and is keen to do so again. I think he’s proved he wants to play for us.”

Scotland got their Group 4 bid off to a stunning start as they beat Holland 2-0 earlier this month.