Is Bruno Alves already in a fight to save Rangers career?

Rangers manager Graeme Murty is seen during the Scottish Cup Quarter final match between Rangers and Hamilton Academical at Ibrox Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Graeme Murty left Bruno Alves out of his starting XI in favour of teenager Ross McCrorie against Partick Thistle on Saturday.

Bruno Alves of Portugal and Chris Wood of New Zealand battle for possession during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Group A match between New Zealand and Portugal at Saint...

Bruno Alves arguably became Rangers’ most high profile signing in years when he arrived at Ibrox in the summer.

The grizzled centre-back had only lifted the European Championship trophy with Portugal a year earlier, after all, and had successes at Porto, Zenit and Fenerbache, not to mention 94 international caps, on a storied CV.

The 35-year-old probably did not expect to lose his place in Rangers’ starting XI just two months into the season, then – not least to a player who had not made a single senior appearance before 2017/18.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 22:Bruno Alves of Rangers tackles All Campbell of Motherwell during the Betfred Cup Semi Final at Hampden Park on October 22, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Alves had missed Rangers’ first two games after the sacking of compatriot Pedro Caixinha after picking up a two-game ban following an altercation with Louis Moult in the recent 2-0 Scottish League Cup semi-final loss to Rangers.

However, Gers caretaker manager Graeme Murty explained to STV after Saturday’s 3-0 win against Patrick Thistle that Alves was left out of the starting XI again for tactical reasons – with 19-year-old Ross McCrorie keeping his place alongside Danny Wilson.

McCrorie, tipped to be one of the greatest defenders in Rangers’ history by Caixinha, earned rave reviews once again and even opened his senior account with a thumping first-half header.

Calvin Miller of Celtic vies with Ross McCrorie of Rangers during The Scottish FA Youth Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park on April 26, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

You wonder, then, what the immediate future holds for Alves at Ibrox. The veteran centre-back had not quite lived up to expectations and the Daily Record reported upon Caixinha’s departure last month that his Rangers career was hanging in the balance.

Murty picking McCrorie to start again must have Alves wondering if the honeymoon period is over already in Glasgow.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch