Ross McCrorie: Portsmouth better for my development rather than staying at Rangers

Last season yielded 31 Rangers appearances, seven Europa League outings and two Old Firm starts.

By Neil Allen
Sunday, 28th July 2019, 7:00 am
Ross McCrorie in old firm action for Rangers against Celtic  Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Ross McCrorie in old firm action for Rangers against Celtic Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

But Ross McCrorie wants more.

His age may be 21, but the promising midfielder baulks at the concept of being eased into the first-team environment.

The Scottish giants possess high hopes for their home-grown talent. Nonetheless, McCrorie thirsts for regular matches to aid his burgeoning development.

Ross McCrorie in old firm action for Rangers against Celtic Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

That intense desire opened the door for a season-long Fratton Park link-up, representing a significant coup for Kenny Jackett.

McCrorie played at Villarreal and Rapid Vienna last term, while ventured into Celtic Park to face a 58,773 crowd.

Now League One – and the possibility of increased first-team involvement – beckons.

The Scot said: ‘The gaffer (Steven Gerrard) spoke to me and basically I told him I’m 21 and need to play week in, week out.

On-loan Rangers midfielder Ross McCrorie Picture: Joe Pepler

‘That’s what I got last year, it’s still a good marker, but there's a lot of competition. I was told I could stay and play the same amount of games, but for me that wasn’t satisfying.

‘I want to play regularly and show people what I can do – and I didn’t think I’d get that kind of opportunity this season at Rangers.

‘It was a case of I could have stayed if I was satisfied doing the same as I did last year, but I wasn’t.

‘I want to be playing as many games as I can. I have that drive to go and further my career, play bigger games, showcase what I can do – and obviously help Pompey win promotion this year.

‘It was a hard decision for me to come down because I am a Rangers fan and it would be fantastic if we could win the (Scottish) league this year, but I’m thinking of myself as a football player.

‘Deep down I want to stay at Rangers, but if I only play 30-odd games it’s not going to be best for many development.

‘So hopefully I can come to Pompey, impress and play as many games as I can.

‘I played quite a lot last season, in some big games such as three of the four Old Firms and the Europa League, with half and half sub appearances and starts.

‘But there’s good quality players at Rangers and it’s hard to play regularly at the moment.

‘Maybe I impressed the Rangers fans last season, but I’ve got to look out for my development as a player, making myself a better footballer.’

Former Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha had preferred to utilise McCrorie in the centre of defence.

After handing him a debut from the bench in September 2017 against Partick Thistle, he proclaimed the 19-year-old as ‘the future of this country, not only this club, as a centre-half’.

Yet McCrorie is convinced his destiny is to serve in the centre of midfield.

It’s an opinion shared by Jackett, surely a clincher during negotiations to land the Scotland under-21 international.

 McCrorie added: ‘I was a defender to start off with, but I don’t know how long it has been since I last played there.

‘I’m a deeper midfielder or a number eight, I’ve always played as a CDM.

‘The defensive background kind of helps, you know where the defenders are playing and what they are thinking, so I can position myself in better areas.

‘If asked what I can bring to the table for Pompey, I would say I’m a leader, I will always want the ball and never shy away from a tackle.

‘I can bring a bit of steeliness to the midfield – and I’m really looking forward to playing for Pompey.’