ROSS McCRORIE is ‘very much’ a part of Rangers’ future – according to Director of Football Mark Allen.

McCrorie departed Gers for Portsmouth on a season-long loan earlier this summer as the club look to accelerate his development.

Allen has looked at the example of Greg Docherty’s loan at Shrewsbury Town last season, and explained: “Ross is someone who we see with a bright, bright future here at Rangers. Similarly to Greg Docherty last year, I think we have seen the merits of Greg going out and playing regular, 40 to 50 games of football, and that is what we feel Ross needs to add to his armoury now.

“I think the example of Greg last year – he has come back a different player to the one who left us having played so much football, and we are hoping the same applies to Ross.

“But, we see Ross very much as a part of the future.”

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Overseeing McCrorie in his time at Portsmouth, and indeed all of the club’s players playing their football away from Ibrox is Billy Kirkwood, the club’s Loans Manager.

Allen discussed his role, saying: “It is significant. You have to have a loans manager as they players are our assets – they belong to our football club, and our job is to get the best out of those players, whether they go permanently, as part of their development or if we see that their time at Rangers is up and they need to seek pastures new.

“They are still assets to the football club and very much a part of the fabric. I think Billy has the relevant sort of experience having played, managed and done pretty much everything. He understands the development of a player and the transitions which sometimes occur in their career. He has been a perfect addition and a great addition to the team, plus, he is a vital part of our overall business plan.”

The summer period has seen involvement for a number of Rangers’ Academy players, with that culminating in a competitive debut for Josh McPake in last week’s Europa League win over St Joseph’s at Ibrox.

Allen has been delighted with the progress made in the Academy, adding: “I said when I first started this job, there has to be a place for Academy players. From a holistic perspective, you want to see young players coming through your system and making their debuts for the first team.

“Also from a commercial and a business perspective, it is the best way to develop and refine talent as part of a business plan. What we must make sure is the players are good enough and are being developed in such a way where they can make that transition.

“I think it is fair to say a number of them now are reaching that point where they are getting first-team experience and they are getting exposure through training.

“Some may go on loans and come back – it is all part of their development. We have got to find the right playground for them at the right stage of their career.”

This season will also see Gers play in the UEFA Youth League for the first time, and he said: “Again, you always want to match best with best and it gives a chance to look at like-for-like. Where do we compare with the best 18 and 19 year-olds in Europe?

“Are we as good as them? Are we technically as good? Physically, tactically, mentally as good? So those will be great tests and they will also be good experiences for those young boys to play against big teams.”

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