ROSS McCRORIE has revealed the Rangers players are being pushed to their maximum as Steven Gerrard shapes his squad for the new season.
McCrorie admits it’s a rather surreal experience working for someone who was an idol of his as a youngster, but so far he is loving every minute of it and he’s determined to learn as much as he can both from Gerrard and assistant boss Gary McAllister.
Speaking to RangersTV in Spain exclusively, McCrorie said: “I watched him when I was a little boy and he’s a legend of the game. It was bit weird at first when you start speaking to him as the manager of Rangers!
“They are both really experienced though and they can help us a lot. The gaffer has played in Champions League finals and he can pass down different little tips and help us with our games.
“We’re being pushed to our maximum every day in training, but it feels great and after it you feel the benefits straight away.
“At the start of the season, all the boys are going to feel the benefits of it as well.”
McCrorie finished the end of last season with a foot injury which has now healed, and he has been able to take a full part in training so far in the Spanish sunshine.
“It’s been great,” he continued, “especially getting to meet the new gaffer and his new coaching staff he has brought in. The training as well, it’s been really high intensity with all the boys.
“I had a couple of weeks off to rest up and get my foot injury back to normal, and then it was the usual couple of weeks before we came back doing a few runs just to keep me ticking over.”
McCrorie made the breakthrough to the Light Blues’ first-team last season, and he admits it was a huge learning experience for him, both in a positive sense and a negative one.
He said: “Last season, I had a lot of ups and downs, but that is part and parcel of being a footballer. I’m grateful for getting my chance last season, and this season, it feels as if I am a proper first-team player and I’m properly part of it all.
“I just want to kick-on now and hopefully keep on playing week-in, week-out.
“I feel coming back this season a lot fresher, and I feel mentally stronger too.”
McCrorie will have added competition for a place this season either in midfield or up front, but it is something he is relishing.
He explained: “It’s good they’re coming in to create more competition in the team. The quality of the group has obviously gone up and that is what we need to get to the next level.
“The new boys have mixed in really well and it has been good to get to know them.”
Gers, of course, return to European competition on July 12, and having travelled with the team to Luxembourg last season and realised the magnitude of the defeat to Progres Niederkorn, McCrorie is determined to make amends this time around.
“It’s huge,” he added, “and basically, we just want to win and get to the group stages, that is the aim.
“Last season was a huge disappointment and you could tell the fans were hugely disappointed as well.
“We never want to feel like that again and we want to give the fans something back.”