MATT Crooks will turn out for the first-time in a Rangers jersey this evening when the Under 20s take on St Mirren and admits it felt weird wearing football boots after six months out.

The towering utility man hasn’t played a game since March 12, when he picked up an ankle injury and entered full training with the Gers first-team squad last week.

That was the first time the 22-year-old had kicked a ball since his arrival from Accrington Stanley this summer and Crooks confessed it has been a tough introduction to life in Glasgow.

He told Rangers TV:

“It felt weird to put my boots back on, they were a bit tight. It was a nice experience to get back out there.

“The first two days I trained I was terrible! But I am enjoying it now and it is just nice to be back playing football.

“I am back training properly so it’s all positive, it took me a couple of days to get going and find my touch again but I feel like I am getting there.

“I was half expecting a pain or to not feel as comfortable but as soon as I got into it I was fine.

“It’s not been a great time, I’ve not really trained at all and coming to a new club you just want to get started and get straight into it and make a good impression.

“It has been tougher than I expected but you just have to get on with it because there is nothing you can do about it; you just have to be positive, come in and do your best and see where it takes you.

“I was pretty depressed after about five days into the trip to America, I felt like I was wasting my time and wasting the team’s time not actually being able to do anything.

 “This is the longest I have ever been out and I’m not really used to being injured, the first few days after I came back I was thinking what is going on, I have lost it completely and I was panicking a bit.

“It is something new to me so in a way it has been a good experience and I have learnt from it, I’m still young so in that sense I’ve gained something from it I guess.”

WATCH AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CROOKS ON RANGERSTV HERE
Crooks’ injury has not been straight forward and his early days at Rangers were blighted by uncertainty over the state of his ankle problem.

After the heat and humidity of South Carolina caused his ankle to swell there were fears the former Manchester United youngster might need more surgery.

Crooks explained:

“I actually got injured in March and I had a scan two days later and they just said it was bone bruising and a bit of swelling.

“But over the course of time I could tell in myself that it was a bit more than that. I carried on and tried to get back into training and games but I knew myself it wasn’t right.

“I had another scan about six weeks later and that showed that I needed an operation so I had that at the start of May and I’ve been recovering since then.

“I went to America with the plan of training towards the end of that trip but it kept swelling up and we probably worried a bit too much and thought I might have to have another operation.

“That would have been another three months so luckily it was just four weeks so that was a big blessing.”

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