ROSS MCCRORIE has already completed the transition from boy to man. Now he is making the one from Son to Ranger.

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable rise and rise in recent weeks and his fledgling career reached another milestone on Saturday as he scored his first goal for his boyhood heroes.

McCrorie has handled the journey from Auchenhowie to Ibrox with ease this term, but it was a stop off in Dumbarton last season that gave him a chance to motor towards the Light Blues first team.

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He would make nine appearances for the Sons as he helped Stevie Aitken’s side secure their Championship spot for another year.

McCrorie hasn’t looked back since and Aitken believes the stopper will go from strength to strength for the Gers.

“He came in and was terrific and his attitude was spot on,” Aitken told SportTimes.

“We went to Easter Road and we played him in the middle of the park because we knew they were strong in there and Ross was outstanding.

“We drew 2-2 that day and probably should have won and a lot of that was down to Ross in midfield nullifying the threats.

“I thought then that he would go far. He took on board the instructions we gave him and delivered a performance that was outstanding.

“I think he will look at that spell at Dumbarton having helped him as he played competitive football against good players and in good environments at the likes of Easter Road, Tannadice, St Mirren Park.

“It is great to see him in the Rangers first team and I am sure he can kick-on and be a future Rangers captain.”

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Those outings in the second tier were the only ones that McCrorie had made at first team level before Pedro Caixinha handed him his Rangers debut in September.

That day, he replaced Bruno Alves during the Betfred Cup clash with Partick Thistle. At the weekend, he kept the Portuguese out of the team as Graeme Murty’s side beat the Jags at Ibrox.

McCrorie has taken it all in his stride so far and Aitken is confident he won’t shirk any challenges that come his way as he attempts to establish himself at Ibrox.

“I go back to that day at Easter Road and it didn’t faze him being out of position, it didn’t faze him playing against those players,” he said. “He said ‘bring it on, I am ready for it’.

“At Rangers, a lot of players can’t carry the badge. That is different and you need to handle the pressure of that.

“Ross, at just 19, he has gone and played against good players in big environments and I have no doubt that he will be a long-term Rangers player and possibly a future captain.

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“His attitude is spot on, his work rate, his commitment and desire is spot on.

“All he wanted to do is play for Rangers and that is what he has worked towards. You could see early on he had a chance but it is up to the player after that and it is great to see him doing well.”

While McCrorie was helping Aitken and Ian Durrant keep Dumbarton in the Championship, two of his Auchenhowie peers were realising their own Gers dreams in the top flight.

David Bates played nine times for Caixinha’s side in the final weeks of the campaign, while Aidan Wilson started against Aberdeen and St Johnstone.

It would have been easy for McCrorie to assume he had missed his big chance. His patience has paid off this season, though.

“Timing is key in football and that is for managers and players,” Aitken said. “It is about being in the right place at the right time.

“Ross came out to Dumbarton because he wanted to experience first team football and I think that helped him.

“Would he be handling the Rangers first team just now if he hadn’t come to Dumbarton? Possibly not.

“He played in front of a big crowd at Easter Road, he went to Tannadice and that didn’t faze him.

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“If you are playing in Development games and there is nobody there and then you go into that environment, it can spook you.

“Competitive football is different from 20s games and friendlies and that is why Ross took the decision to come out on loan.

“We asked the question and he was really keen. Everything about him is geared up to go and have a great career.”

It was after his first minutes for Rangers at Firhill that Caixinha tipped McCrorie to go on and star for club and country for years to come. Just days later, he handed the defender his Old Firm bow.

McCrorie has shown no signs of being weighed down by the praise he has received or the expectations that have been placed on his shoulders.

And Sons boss Aitken reckons he has all the attributes needed to go on and realise the potential that shone through this term.

He said: “He keeps his feet on the ground and his attitude is terrific. When he was with us, he was training with Rangers during the day then coming to us at night and we would say he didn’t need to do too much.

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“But his attitude was ‘I am here, I want to be with the players’ and he never missed a session.

“There was a game at Tannadice where the physio said he would need to come off and I looked at Ian and said ‘he won’t come off’. We asked him and he said ‘no, I am fine’ and he played on. You need that type.

“His brother, Robby, is at Rangers, he has got a good family, a good background and you need to be level-headed because football is full of ups and downs.

“One week you are the bee’s knees and the other you aren’t good enough. At a club like Rangers, there are no second bests.

“To carry that badge, you need to have everything about you and I think Ross has got that. It is great to see him doing well and I am delighted for him.”