Rangers keeper Robby McCrorie was once gifted a pair of gloves by his hero Allan McGregor when he was invited to train with the first team at just 14 years of age. Now he’s aiming to persuade Steven Gerrard he should have his No 1 spot for keeps too.
McCrorie will line up for Scotland under-21s today against South Korea in Fos-Sur-Mer knowing a win could see them through to the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament. He may even be watched by his new boss Gerrard, pictured, who is over in the south of France watching games.
The 20-year-old has been hotly tipped for a bright future in the game and to follow his brother Ross into the Rangers first team after spending last season on loan at Berwick Rangers. But he will have to get past returning favourite McGregor, Wes Foderingham and Jak Alnwick first. But McCrorie has no shortage of confidence in his own ability.
He said: “Even though the first-team keepers at Rangers are older than me I want to be just as good as them, in fact better than them. You have got Wes, Jak and Allan McGregor now. Allan’s very experienced and Wes and Jak are both good keepers too so I need to learn a lot in training from them and I want to push them hard.
“I grew up a Rangers fan so I watched him and his last spell at Rangers was a success to say the least. I was fortunate enough to train with him when he was 14 when I trained with the first team. You could see he was a top keeper at club and international level.”
“His save he made against Werder Bremen save is up there with one of the best saves you will ever see from a keeper. The penalty save he made against Celtic, you could say was the turning point that season to win the league. He’s a big-game goalkeeper. You can only applaud what he’s done.
“I trained with him a few times. I was only young and we trained on astroturf back then and my gloves were ruined. And he just went back to his locker and gave me them and I wore them in training. I think that sums him up. He’s level-headed but some of the saves in training he was pulling off were incredible. I’ve still got them. I think he’s got plenty!
“You could say that I want his place because the only reason I am playing is because I want to be No 1. It doesn’t matter what club you are at, you want to be playing all the time, that’s the mentality you have to have everywhere, especially at Rangers, because you have to be a winner there.
“I’ve never spoken to the new manager but it is fair to say everyone is excited. Even though he’s not had much experience as a manager, he’s got some pedigree. I think what he’s done before could help a lot of us and I am really looking forward to working with him.”
Brother Ross has won plenty of plaudits this season and McCrorie added: “Fair play to Ross. I think he’s more than deserved it. He was out on loan too and you can definitely see the progress since he came back from that. I want to be out there on that pitch playing alongside him. I think it would make my family really proud
“Ross is versatile and athletic. To be honest, whatever position he is he would do a good job. I just want him to do well. I would thrive off that.
“He was gutted after the Old Firm game where he got sent off, but I did say to him at the end of the day all you can do is learn from it. The circumstances of the game itself wasn’t great and we were not doing well anyway. To be honest, even if he wasn’t sent off I don’t know if it would have made any difference because the team weren’t playing well. It was a bad day for everyone.”
McCrorie won player of the year at Berwick and admits he loved the experience of playing in League Two. He said: “I’ve had a good season. I’ve learned a lot and I have toughened up. I wanted to go there and gain some experience. I’ve played 40-odd games and I’ve been playing against men too.
“In every game the ball is on the halfway line and it will get punted into the box and you’re just ready to get smashed by a big guy! But, in fairness, I feel I can handle myself now and I don’t mind that side of the game. It’s part of the game and part of my learning curve.”