Robby McCrorie has learned with adoration from a Rangers legend at close hand and watched some of the finest keepers of his generation with admiration from afar.

Now he must write his own legacy in the game as he seeks to establish himself for club and country and become the number one at Ibrox and Hampden.

At 25, McCrorie still has plenty of time on his side in his career. There is a sense, though, that it is now or never for him when it comes to his aspirations for his boyhood club.

He has put in the hard yards in the lower leagues and been patient under the guidance of a succession of managers. His fate in now in Michael Beale's hands.

The Herald: Robby McCrorie

The decision over who starts next term as number one will be a defining one for Beale as Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin prepare to leave Ibrox. McCrorie is ready, willing and able.

“I have always supported Rangers and Greegsy was my hero growing up," McCrorie said. "I also liked guys like Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer and it’s important to try and look at the best.

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“It’s great to work with Allan on a daily basis and he has had the same Academy journey as I have.

“I was fortunate enough to train with Greegsy and Neil Alexander briefly when I was about 14 so I was able to see early on what it takes to play for Rangers.

“I was a bit nervous when I first went round to train with the first team but you quickly learn to relax into it.

“I’ve also had a few loan spells and I have worked up the levels. I started at Berwick Rangers then I was at Morton, Queen of the South and Livingston so each move has benefitted my career.

“The manager has said he will give me an opportunity to play so that gives me confidence obviously.

“I had a good relationship with him before when he was here and I back my own ability on the pitch. I am now pushing Allan and Jon for a place in the team.

"When you are at a big club like Rangers that wants to win trophies you are always going to have a harder job breaking into the team but it has always been an ambition of mine to be a regular at this club."

That journey through the ranks at Auchenhowie has seen McCrorie's talent and reputation rise exponentially. Peter Dennison and Alan Main were the first ones to nurture his promise and Graeme Smith and Jim Stewart have also played integral parts in his development.

It is Stewart's son, Colin, that now offers advice and encouragement and that helped prepare McCrorie for his first competitive outings against Alashkert and Celtic last season. The door was hard to push open at Ibrox thereafter but international recognition ultimately followed.

“I signed a new contract recently so the next year or two are going to be exciting for my career," McCrorie said as he promoted the Rangers Youth Development Fund. “I have been in Scotland squads recently too and I always enjoy going away.

"I have a good relationship with Steve Clarke and goalkeeping coach Chris Woods, who also had a great career here, and I have been fortunate enough to play at different age groups with the national team.

“I have always had the drive and ambition to play for Rangers and Scotland. That’s definitely something I want to do in the future.

“I have already had a taste of it and it was fantastic to make my Rangers debut in Europe then keep a clean sheet in an Old Firm victory at Ibrox last season.

"You dream about that when you are a kid and I’ve managed to do it so nobody can ever take that away from me.

“Keeping a clean sheet in such a big game gives me confidence and it was a great moment for me. That’s the level I want to be at but you need to keep working hard and push yourself.

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“I’m just at the start of my journey and I always work as hard as I can. I feel that will get me somewhere and I will get the rewards over time.

“The manager here gives players the opportunity to play and it’s up to me to take it when the chance comes."

The extended deal agreed until 2025 was evidence of Rangers' faith in the keeper and the man himself does not doubt his own ability as he seeks to prove his worth and earn his place in the closing weeks of the campaign.

The Herald: Robby McCrorie

A clean sheet in the win over Aberdeen last weekend was the reward for a confident, commanding performance. It could be the foundation for McCrorie to finally establish himself between the sticks.

“I am very excited about the future and I was happy to get a new contract done last year," McCrorie said. “I love the club and signing the contract is hopefully a statement of intent going forward for myself and the club.

"I think it’s important to try and assert myself in the team, to do everything possible to make myself successful and, more importantly, make the club successful. Hopefully I can play as many games as possible.

“I’ve tried to make the most of every day I have been here, soaking up what the club has done in terms of the European run and winning the Scottish Cup last season.

"I’ve tried to use those experiences to help me going forward. Over the period of this contract it’s important that when the time comes, I’ll be ready.

“The reason I signed the contract is because I love this club and I want to really kick on with my career and establish myself as a first-team goalkeeper."

The chance to work under Stewart and alongside McGregor and McLaughlin has been something of a double-edged sword for McCrorie. His learning has undoubtedly been enhanced but his opportunities have been curtailed as a result of the quality of his competition.

The Old Firm fixture with Celtic this weekend could offer another chance for the keeper and matches with Hibernian, Hearts and St Mirren will follow before Beale can fully focus on the rebuilding job that must be completed over the summer.

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Time will tell if McCrorie is part of the plans or part of the cull. He does, though, have the mentality to match the ability.

McCrorie said: “I enjoy training with Allan, Jon and Colin Stewart and I’ve been fortunate that I’ve worked with top goalkeepers all the way at the club and with the national team.

"Regardless of who it is, I always look at what people do day-to-day and in matches. It can only benefit me and help me improve.

“The biggest thing is that we push the standards and each other every day. You shouldn’t be at Rangers if you want to settle for being average.

“I think Colin and the goalkeepers as a group definitely work together to be better each day and get results for the club.

“I’ve had a great experience as an Academy player and I thank all the staff there who have helped me get to this stage in my career."