Daily Record

Robby McCrorie shuts down Rangers narrative as 'next Allan McGregor' tag sees goalkeeper makes alternative Ibrox pitch

Daily Record logo Daily Record 27.05.2023 12:02:21 Andrew Newport

He's spent the last five years learning from a man who's achievements for Rangers would qualify him for an honorary degree in goalkeeping.

Considering his 500-plus games for the Light Blues, 13 winners medals and a string of famous saves that paved the route to two European finals, it's safe to assume Allan McGregor has forgotten more about keeping the ball out of the net than your average goalie will ever know. But while Robby McCrorie was happy to play the role of attentive student while soaking up all he could from Gers' masterful man in nets, the Ibrox understudy insists he's not out to become the next Greegsy.

Now with the 41-year-old about to hang up his gloves, a vacancy between the sticks is about to open up and McCrorie is determined to show the best version of himself is good enough to fill Rangers' No.1 jersey. He said: "For me who's been at the club for so long [succeeding McGregor] was just a lifelong ambition. It felt like that was just the natural thing coming through the system to want to be playing every week at the club.

"And then when you get older there's no denying it's in your thoughts as he was the last one who came through from the academy and established himself and had the career he's had. So it was always the question of who was going to be next.

"For me that was always a big driving point. You look at Greegsy and some of the big saves and big moments that he's had for the club. His legacy will carry on.

"I feel that I've learned from the best and it's now important for me to be the best version of myself. What Allan has done is just him. I need to just try to be the best I can be."

McCrorie knows he'll have a fight on his hands to claim the slot McGregor is vacating next season, however. Manchester United back-up goalie Jack Butland has a big-money offer on the table, which if accepted would likely see him installed as Michael Beale's first-choice shot-stopper.

It's a situation which echoes back to the one McGregor encountered when Paul le Guen took over as Gers boss in 2006, bringing former PSG keeper Lionel Letizi with him to succeed Stefan Klos.

The Frenchman may have had the lucrative deal but it was McGregor who proved he had the temperament for Glasgow and after ousting le Guen's marquee signing went on to establish himself as one of the club's greatest ever.

McCrorie said: "It's just part and parcel of being at Rangers. There's going to be a big overhaul in the summer and it's just the way it is.

"Competition is good. The club wants to win trophies so that's what you need. I don't think you can fear that, you have to rise to it.

"When the manager came in he said he would give me an opportunity. There were never any promises. I just knew an opportunity would come. And then it's up to you to make the most of it."

McCrorie first joined Rangers with twin brother Ross aged 14 but it's taken him 11 years to get to the point where he's been able to register three successive starts.

The fact he's made just six first-team appearances for Rangers in total has frustrated a player who has shown tremendous potential during loan stints with Morton, Queen of the South and Livingston.

But he never considered following the route of his sibling, who cut ties with Ibrox when he joined Aberdeen permanently in 2021.

Asked why he chose to stay, McCrorie - who should be back in goal for today's Premiership curtain closer with St Mirren after stepping back to allow McGregor an Ibrox farewell on Wednesday - said: "It was just a belief I had. I felt inside me that it just had to happen.

"There were wee doubts along the way as you thought something was going to happen and then it ended up not. I do want to be playing every week. I do feel that I'm at an age where I should be doing that. I've not played for a while so this is an opportunity for me to really do that.

"Now it's about having that determination. I truly believe that if you work hard enough stuff does come your way. I've tried to work as hard as I can every day. That way there can be no excuses."

McGregor's longevity in the game has been put down to a relentless work ethic that means he's regularly the first to arrive for training each day and often the last to leave.

But McCrorie isn't one for lying in late or sneaking home early either. You have that in-built in you," he said. "I've always had that just because of the way my parents brought me up.

"I've always had that work ethic the same as Allan. I actually enjoy being in before the others. It's quite nice having that quietness just to do your work! But there's no denying if you don't do that hard work it would be a lot more difficult to get where you want to be."

After keeping an immaculately clean sheet through his first five appearances - which included two Old Firm games - he finally conceded his first goal for Rangers on Sunday as Paul Hanlon was allowed to snatch an Easter Road consolation strike.

It didn't spark the kind of explosive outburst McGregor is famed for but inside McCrorie was fizzing.

He grinned: "I was raging at that! There were two minutes left. You knew they would get a chance at some point but the circumstance with how late it was made it harder to take.

"Like any keeper you don't like to concede but the main thing was that we won. That was my fifth game and it would have been nice to have had another clean sheet as that's what you pride yourself on.

"I'm not quite there yet [at the McGregor rage levels]. I don't know if that comes with age or not! I try to keep myself calm and concentrated on what's next."


samedi 27 mai 2023 15:02:21 Categories: Daily Record

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