EXCLUSIVE By James Black
Mark Warburton told Rangers staff that new sensation Ross McCrorie would not make it as a centre-back, Football Insider sources can reveal.
A well-placed Ibrox training ground source told Football Insider that the club’s former manager did not believe the 19-year-old defender was cut out to make a career in central defence.
Warburton’s assessment prompted Rangers to sign David Bates from Raith Rovers in the summer of 2016 on what was initially a loan deal before it was eventually made permanent.
Rangers academy product McCrorie, who has captained the club’s Under-20s side since 2015, was then shifted to right-back to accommodate the then-on loan Bates in the development squad.
Towards the end of his time at Ibrox, Warburton shipped McCrorie out on loan to Dumbarton – where he played as a right-back or defensive midfielder – before regaining his place at the heart of the Rangers Under-20s defence alongside Aidan Wilson.
McCrorie made his first-team debut for the Gers on Tuesday night against Partick Thistle before being thrust into his first start in today’s Old Firm clash, which Rangers lost 2-0 at Ibrox.
Despite his inexperience, McCrorie has impressed fans and pundits alike with his composure in possession and ability to keep experienced forwards quiet.
After Caixinha took charge of the Gers in March, a host of injuries forced the Portuguese manager to promote several Academy players.
David Bates and Aidan Wilson both stepped in to central defence although, the source told Football Insider that had McCrorie not been on loan it’s almost certain he would have been first choice.
Despite Warburton not being a big fan, McCrorie has represented Scotland at various youth levels in central defence and has been tipped by Caixinha as the ‘”future” for both club and country.
With Bruno Alves faces several weeks out with a calf injury, McCrorie will likely see more first-team action in the coming weeks.
Warburton left Rangers in February before taking charge at Nottingham Forest.
In other Rangers news, Scott Brown has made a big claim about the Gers’ tactics ahead of the Old Firm derby.