STEVEN GERRARD has backed Ross McCrorie to put his difficult Old Firm experiences behind him and become a key player for Rangers this season.

The 20-year-old impressed during his debut campaign for the Light Blues last term after being handed his debut by former boss Pedro Caixinha.

But he struggled against Celtic as Graeme Murty’s side finished third in the Premiership and were left empty ended in the Scottish Cup.

Gerrard utilised McCrorie in the middle of the park for the win over FK Shkupi last night and believes he can bring the best out of the Ibrox kid.

He said: “I just spoke to Ross about where I see him and where I think he is going to be most effective.

“He was awesome against Bury from start to finish. Tonight, he was awesome in the second half.

“In the first half he got a bit excited and left the slot to go and press but maybe that was because those in front of him weren’t doing the pressing.

“Second half I was really pleased with him. He just needed to protect the back two and keep the game ticking, keep the play switching.

“I thought he did it really well. He is still a kid, he has still got a lot of learning to do and he is one that we will help to improve and get better. I am delighted with him so far.

“He is a baby and when you are coaching babies you have to protect them from ruining them. If you toss them into huge Old Firm derbies out of position, there is a risk you can damage people and scar them.

“Thankfully he is a very tough kid and he bounces back. He is desperate to play for this club and he loves the club. I believe the club have a gem if he is coached and given the right guidance.”