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Billy Kirkwood thinks Ross McCrorie is ready for Rangers first team

Ross McCrorie has impressed this season and Billy Kirkwood has tipped him to be a first-team player next season.

Rangers youth coach Billy Kirkwood has told the Glasgow Evening Times that Ross McCrorie is ready to step up to the first team next season.

The 17-year-old can play in three positions across the back-line and has impressed with his performances this season, including in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Celtic in the Glasgow Cup final at Hampden Park.

McCrorie has featured for Rangers U20s this season and will be going to the U17 European Championships in Bulgaria with Scotland in May, giving him the opportunity to impress on the international stage.

The defender has made significant progress this season and Kirkwood has seen enough to tout the youngster as a potential first-team player for next season and thinks his versatility can help him.

"In my opinion, he was Man of the Match," he said. "He has been exceptional in the 20s, he is going away with Scotland and the Under-17s.

"At the start of next year, if things go well for Rangers and they are back in the Premiership, then I would look to see Ross knocking on the first-team door.

"He can play right-back, left centre-half, left-back, and he has got a fantastic attitude. Hopefully he is one to get into the top team."

Rangers have a number of players who are out of contract at the end of this season, and McCrorie – whose twin brother plays in goal for Rangers and is also in the Scotland U17 team – could come into the defence to replace the likes of Lee McCulloch.

Replacing the older players with youngsters from the academy is a likely route for the Light Blues as they continue to rebuild the club from within the boardroom, and with other young players like Tom Walsh and Ryan Hardy breaking into the first-team already this season there is no reason why the same faith shouldn’t be shown towards others.

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