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I don't need Gerrard to wrap me in cotton wool at Rangers, insists hungry McCrorie

 

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Learning curve: Ross McCrorie with boss Steven Gerrard

Learning curve: Ross McCrorie with boss Steven Gerrard

PA

Learning curve: Ross McCrorie with boss Steven Gerrard

Ross McCrorie understands why boss Steven Gerrard is being protective of him - but the youngster insists he is ready to be thrown in at the deep end with Rangers.

The 20-year-old made his first-team breakthrough last season under former managers Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty playing mostly as a centre-half.

But it turned out to be a bruising experience for the academy graduate as he was thrown into a rearguard that shipped nine goals in the space of two heavy Old Firm humiliations at the tail end of the campaign.

That drew a scathing response from the new man in charge, with Gerrard accusing his predecessors of putting McCrorie's entire career at risk by leaving him exposed at the back.

"He is a baby, and when you are coaching babies you have to protect them from ruining them," said the former Liverpool captain of a player he now regards as a central midfielder.

"If you toss them into huge Old Firm derbies out of position, there is a risk you can damage people and scar them."

But McCrorie insists he is tough enough to handle the big occasion.

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"I'm developing great under the gaffer," said the Scotland youth international. "I broke into the team last year but you can't learn from anybody better than Steven Gerrard. He was one of the best players of his generation. I see myself as a central midfielder now, that's where I've been playing mostly. But wherever the gaffer plays me I'll try my best and we'll see how it goes.

"I'd rather be thrown in at the deep end playing in the big games. That's how you learn. But it comes down to this - I'm a Rangers fan, so I'd play anywhere for this club."

McCrorie came off the bench on Sunday to help Rangers see out the final stages of their Betfred Cup win at Kilmarnock.

Rangers will now look to make it 10 games unbeaten under Gerrard when they face Russian side Ufa in the Europa League play-off first leg on Thursday.

And McCrorie reckons that momentum can take his side far this term as they look to topple Brendan Rodgers' Celtic.

He said: "We play for Rangers so our expectations are to win everything. We've got off to a great start. Now we'll see what happens on September 2 (when we face Celtic)."

Thursday night's game will see only Rangers fans in attendance after Ufa elected not to take any tickets for the tie.

The Russian club cited the difficulty of fans getting visas as the reason for their decision.


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