Rangers Academy chief Craig Mulholland has praised Gers star Ross McCrorie for the extra work the 20-year-old has put in to impress in the first-team at Ibrox – and insists his success “doesn’t come by chance” after cementing his place in the first-team.

McCrorie made 24 appearances last season as he made the step up from Under-20s to the first-team and is now a big favourite with fans after his performances in the senior squad.

Mulholland revealed that McCrorie has been putting in additional hours with the Academy sports scientists and mental skills coach to help him make the most of his chance in the first-team.

“This year, Ross has made the most appearances with twenty-odd.

“We’ve got Jamie Barjonas, with six or seven, and Ryan Hardie, with six or seven, who have been involved, so that is really positive.

“I think Ross’ achievement in the first team is probably the biggest accolade from an Academy point of view, and it doesn’t come by chance, it comes by design,” Mulholland told the Gers’ offical YouTube channel.

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“I mentioned on many occasions, Ross comes back two afternoons a week with our Academy sports scientists to do extra strength and conditioning work.

“After he made the mistake against Hamilton, he spoke with our mental skills coach about how he dealt with that, and all that preparation which has gone on over many years to ensure we now have that in place at the club has allowed us to produce a player like Ross in the first team.”

Football Insider verdict:

Craig Mulholland has really impressed since taking over the club’s Academy and is doing a fantastic job in preparing the net generation of Rangers players for their future. After watching Ross’ progression through the Under-20s and into the first-team it’s clear he’s always been a driven, focused individual and his continued commitment to doing extra work to improve his chances in the first-team are a real positive. The 20-year-old has an old head on his shoulders and, depending on what happens with Lee Wallace, could be a serious shout to be named as captain before too long. After making such an impact last term, it’s funny to think that this is the first pre-season McCrorie will have gone into as a proper first-team player at Ibrox. Despite that, the 20-year-old is arguably one of the first names on the team-sheet and will have a massive role to play under Steven Gerrard.

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