Ally McCoist once described succeeding Walter Smith as Rangers manager as being an act not dissimilar to “taking the mic from Frank Sinatra”. The burden on Robby McCrorie isn’t maybe quite as heavy but trying to follow in the footsteps of Allan McGregor certainly brings with it similar challenges and expectations.
McGregor will finally bow out from Rangers this summer at the age of 41, on the back of crafting a legacy of goalkeeping excellence over two stints with the club. Having come through the academy to see off threats from more experienced, imported signings to establish himself as first-choice, McGregor’s name has been uttered by youth coaches again and again over the years as the figure all young goalkeepers ought to be aspiring to.
That was certainly the case for McCrorie, who joined the club a decade ago but who is only now, after five loan spells and long periods of hoping and waiting, getting the chance to establish himself as the Rangers’ No 1 now that McGregor is moving on. Twin brother Ross gave up waiting for that chance to make the switch to Aberdeen but Robby insists he was always confident that biding his time would eventually pay off.
“It was just a belief I had,” said the 25-year-old as Rangers prepare to wrap up their season away to St Mirren on Saturday. “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. But it’s about having that determination. I truly believe that if you work hard enough stuff does come your way. That way there can be no excuses. I want to be playing every week. I feel that I’m at an age where I should be doing that.”
McGregor has become a role model, confidant and sounding board over the years while McCrorie prepared himself for the chance to succeed him. “Allan was the last one who came through and established himself and had the career he’s had,” McCrorie continued. “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. I don’t think I could have anyone better in terms of how to act at a club like this. By that I mean day to day not just in a game, how to prepare and what to do after games. He’s just the best for that kind of thing.”
Rangers will sign at least one goalkeeper this summer but McCrorie backs himself to hold on to the gloves when the players return for pre-season training. “There’s going to be a big overhaul in the summer,” he added. “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. I’ll just prepare for this game and it’s important we finish strongly. And then I’ll definitely be enjoying my summer before getting ready for next year.”2023-05-26T15:00:47Z dg43tfdfdgfd