Pompey are closing in on a season-long loan deal for Rangers defender Ross McCrorie. Daily Record reporter Gavin Berry gave the lowdown on a player whose highly regarded north of the border.
The prospect of losing Ross McCrorie has caused quite a stir among Rangers fans.
He’s played 54 games for Rangers at 21 and, to be honest, that figure could be higher.
When Steven Gerrard came in his first job was to identify a position for McCrorie, because he’d been flapping between central defence and midfield as he searched for his best role.
Former Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha stated McCrorie would go on to become one of the best central defenders in Scottish history when he made his debut.
It was quite a big statement and when he was replaced by Graeme Murty, who was former youth-team manager, it was someone who knew him well. He also used him in central defence.
McCrorie had a torrid time in derby games against Celtic around that spell, with a couple of those games heavy defeats and one seeing him sent off in a Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden in a 4-0 loss.
Gerrard made reference to that when he came in and the fact McCrorie could’ve been ruined by being played there. That game certainly would’ve been mentally tough for a youngster.
He played well in a derby win last November, though, when he arguably the man of the match in a defensive-midfield position. People thought he’d kick on from there, but he never quite got on the run which was expected or he deserved.
When Gerrard came in it seemed McCrorie would really be the guy to benefit from having him as manager.
So there’s certainly some surprise about this. That’s not so much from the fact he’s going on loan but the report saying Portsmouth have an option-to-buy clause. That’s not got down well with the Rangers fans.
They see McCrorie as someone with a big future at the club and the prospect of losing him permanently isn’t one which appeals to the fans.
Fans can relate to players who come through the ranks and there hasn’t been too many at Rangers over the years, so McCrorie was seen as a shining example to others.
So it’s a difficult one to work out because Gerrard always talks highly of him but if he’s willing to sell him permanently that doesn’t tally up.
McCrorie does the dirty work in a holding role, is very strong and allows the others in midfield to go and express themselves.
He’s athletic, understands the game and comes across as very level-headed. So I think he will keep his feet on the ground and will be a dream for managers to work with.
I would think someone with his experience of Old Firm games, European football and playing for the Scottish under-21s will be more than comfortable in League One.
He doesn’t seem to get fazed and I feel he will be a very astute acquisition for Pompey.