PEDRO CAIXINHA admits he wishes he’d had Ross McCrorie available to him last season.

The defender was on loan when Rangers defensive crisis hit in April and couldn’t be recalled meaning he missed out on first-team action.

McCrorie made his debut and Old Firm bow in the space of five days last week after Bruno Alves picked up a calf injury and his manager says if he’d had his way the 19-year-old’s career would be a lot more advanced by this stage.

Speaking to RangersTV Caixinha said: “Let’s be honest, when we arrived here the youth plan was not allowing Ross to play.The chance that the other players got, to play around ten matches last season, happened because Ross was out on loan.

“It was not my plan, it was something which was planned previously and now that we know the player we changed that.

“I do think that if Ross had had the chance previously, then at this moment in time he would be an even better player or a totally different player because of the experience he should have had in that period of time.

“You always need four to five centre-halves and you have the proof now, because for the Old Firm match we had two of the five.”

McCrorie’s involvement going forward could be dictated by the fitness of Alves who travelled to Spain over the weekend for treatment on a calf strain he picked up in Tuesday’s League Cup quarter-final.

Caixinha continued: “Bruno travelled to Madrid and he was working intensively with Ronaldo’s physio. He worked on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and he went because I said to him to go and recover as quickly as possible.

“He (Bruno) is already back with us and he is going to be tested today and we will know today or maybe tomorrow if he is going to be an option to play on Friday.

“If he was here at the weekend he could have maybe been in the stands not helping because you can’t do anything from the stands.

“I am the one who makes the decisions for the team and I am the one who gives the confidence to the players that need to play.

“I think if it was about supporting Ross he received all the support from me whereas in the stands you can’t do anything.

“We will find out if he is going to be an option for Hamilton and this is about is making decisions for him to recover as quickly as possible.

“Declan John I think also needs a couple of days more so we need to assess him today and we will keep assessing him but I think there is a good possibility of to have him back on Friday.”

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