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30th Mar, 2018 | 4:12pm

Graeme Murty must axe big-name Rangers star as player returns from injury


Rangers manager Graeme Murty must axe veteran defender Bruno Alves after Ross McCrorie returned to the Gers’ squad for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership clash with Motherwell.

McCrorie has returned to the Gers squad along with Graham Dorrans and Jordan Rossiter and Murty has to bring McCrorie straight back into the starting XI.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic first-season in the Gers first-team after bursting into the side in September and will be desperate to get back into action after being sidelined since the end of 2017 with a foot injury.

Alves’ performances since his summer signing from Serie A side Cagliari haven’t been up to the standard expected and the 95-times capped Portugal defender has sometimes struggled to keep up with the frantic pace games in Scotland are often played at.

Former Under-20’s captain McCrorie immediately made himself a key part of the side after breaking through under Pedro Caixinha and excelled at both centre-back and as a holding midfielder, giving Murty extra options now the homegrown star is available again.

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With an Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final around the corner for Murty’s side, getting McCrorie back into the team and building up his match fitness as quickly as possible is going to be vital to the Gers’ hopes of ending Celtic’s ambitions of lifting a historic back-to-back treble.

Having Dorrans and Rossiter both come back into contention at the same time means the Gers suddenly go from being quite bare of personnel in central midfield to having a pretty strong group of players which means McCrorie could find himself going back into defence to allow one – or both – of Dorrans and Rossiter to get game-time with one eye on the Old Firm.

After Russell Martin has slotted into the side well since his move from Norwich in January, Murty should pair the veteran up with McCrorie when his side take the field at Fir Park and hopefully put an end to the Gers’ recent defensive struggles.

In other Rangers news, Ally McCoist has made a major claim over a Gers manager decision that could be made within two weeks.

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