SAYS ROSS McCRORIE

Evening Times - - SPORT - By GRAEME McGARRY

THE Pe­dro Caix­inha era may not be re­mem­bered fondly by ev­ery­one of a light blue per­sua­sion, but there is at least one man at Rangers who will al­ways be thank­ful to the Por­tuguese coach for giv­ing him his chance.

Young de­fender Ross McCrorie was brought on for his de­but in place of the in­jured Bruno Alves as Caix­inha’s side eked out a win against Partick This­tle in Septem­ber, be­fore be­ing thrust into the Old Firm derby for his first start just four days later.

He has since es­tab­lished him­self in the side, and even kept Alves on the bench for Rangers’ last match, as he found the net for the first time in an­other win over This­tle.

Know­ing the re­al­i­ties of life at a club like Rangers, McCrorie is philo­soph­i­cal about Caix­inha’s sack­ing, but he is keen to stress the debt he feels he owes his for­mer boss as he looks to the fu­ture un­der who­ever the new per­ma­nent Ibrox man­ager may be.

“I’m thank­ful he gave me the chance and I’ll never for­get it,” McCrorie said.

“He gave me that build­ing block to build on and hope­fully I can push on.

“I’ve not text him, but if I see him again I’ll say thanks. I was grate­ful for what he did.

“I never got to see him. I had my two loan spells at Ayr United and Dum­bar­ton and they helped me a lot. When I came back to Rangers, that’s what made me bet­ter.

“Then Pe­dro gave me the chance and gave me that ex­tra boost and that helped a lot.

“Man­agers tend to go in

foot­ball. He worked re­ally hard and tried his best, but man­agers come and go if re­sults aren’t go­ing [well].”

Caix­inha gained a rep­u­ta­tion for one or two out­landish com­ments in his time in Scot­land, but on the ev­i­dence of McCrorie’s blos­som­ing Rangers ca­reer, who is to say that one of his eye­brow-rais­ing state­ments may not ul­ti­mately be proven rather shrewd?

The for­mer Rangers man­ager pre­dicted that his 19-year-old cen­tre back would go on to be one of the best cen­tre-backs in the his­tory of both his club and his coun­try, and McCrorie was grate­ful for the vote of con­fi­dence.

“It was great to hear what he said about me,” said McCrorie. “It gave you ex­tra con­fi­dence and a boost.

“I had the Old Firm on the Satur­day. For him to say that was great.”

THE fact his for­mer coach at un­der-20 level, Graeme Murty, took over the reins tem­po­rar­ily at least, has prob­a­bly not hurt McCrorie’s cause as he kept his place in the Rangers side af­ter Caix­inha ex­ited the scene.

But there is lit­tle ar­gu­ment over whether or not he mer­its the jersey in any case, such has been his level of per­for­mance, and he is hop­ing to give his new boss a sim­i­lar headache when he comes in.

De­spite Alves’s pedi­gree in the game, McCrorie re­vealed that the Por­tuguese Euro 2016 win­ner has shown no sour grapes to­wards the young­ster since be­ing kept on the bench against This­tle.

“We’ll wait and see what hap­pens when I go back if I am still play­ing or not,” he said.

“It was great for Murts to trust me and Danny [Wil­son] to play. Bruno is a great player as well and he can come in at any time too.

“Be­fore the game he was speak­ing to me and talk­ing me through dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios in the game. He was just say­ing good luck and all the best. It’s a great dress­ing room and they all look out for each other.

“If we can help each other, it helps the team.

“They all chip in to be hon­est. Be­fore the Old Firm, [Kenny Miller] sat me down

I’ve not text him yet, but if I see him again I’ll say thanks. I’m grate­ful

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