HEAD OF ACADEMY Craig Mulholland has lauded the attitude of Ross McCrorie – and reckons he is an example to not only Rangers’ players, but the club’s coaches too.
McCrorie, 19, has been massively impressive since breaking through into the first team back in September – and Mulholland believes him to be a shining light which all in the Academy can aspire to.
He explained: “The reason we are here ultimately is to produce players for the first team. That is the be-all and end-all.
“I think what Ross brings to it is his growth mindset and his willingness to work every day. I’ll give you an example – since he has gone to the first team, he still comes back every day and does his strength and conditioning sessions with the sports science team.
“He’s never missed one, and that sums up his attitude to how desperate he wants to play for Rangers and how desperate he wants to be a footballer.
“That desperation when they come through the gates of the training ground is critical for every young player.
“We are bringing in Kevin Thomson and Gregory Vignal – Gregory is moving his family from France to do a job three nights a week and on a Sunday as he is desperate to be at Rangers.
“Kevin has his own Academy and is giving up some of that to come and be at Rangers and push forward in a career here.
“Whether it be a player or a coach – and you look at Graeme Murty who has gone from being under-20s coach to first team manager – that desperation must be with us every day and Ross absolutely epitomises that.”
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Mullholland also reflected on 2017 in the youth set-up, and picked out a number of highlights.
“It was a great year for the Academy,” he said. “We did a presentation to our under-20s the other day, and there were five players who made their debuts last year.
“If you remember when we changed the Academy two-and-a-half to three years ago, we said we had to get the environment right, the culture right and the staffing right.
“And then, eventually we will produce players out of that. We got rid of players at the top end who we thought wouldn’t have the quality to play for Rangers, and we had this next group coming through.
“Ross McCrorie is the start of that, and that has been a major positive for the Academy.
“Other key highlights include the second year of our intake at Boclair Academy. Young Rangers players are now doing 18 hours a week at Boclair, and that is a magnificent programme.
“We have three full-time staff there – Stephen Wright, Alan Boyd and Brian Gilmour – and that was a big thing for us and there are now 30 players in there.
“The Games Programme too has been phenomenal for us. If you look at the experiences we have had, and beating Benfica and Mechelen, and drawing with Man City and AZ Alkmaar, some of the results have been fantastic.
“But the experience for our players, even on the more difficult nights against Liverpool and Leicester at Ibrox, our players have moved on enormously from that. I think the innovation this club has shown with that is something we are really pleased with.”