THE online world is rarely the place to gauge sensible opinion and reach a balanced consensus.

But the reaction from Rangers fans towards the loan deal that saw Ross McCrorie join Portsmouth last week was overwhelming and there was a bemused theme to most of the opinions on social media, forms and comment sections.

The majority of supporters were unhappy that McCrorie was being allowed to leave Ibrox this summer and questions were asked of the decision that Steven Gerrard has made as he assembles his squad for the new campaign.

But the deal makes perfect sense for McCrorie and it is one that he had to make sooner rather than later before his promising career stalled.

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His first two terms in the Gers’ first team saw McCrorie make 25 and 30 appearances respectively. In the coming months, he could almost reach that combined figure of 55 if, as he believes he can, he goes on to become a mainstay of the Pompey side under the guidance of boss Kenny Jackett.

It was the belief that Jackett expressed in his ability that convinced McCrorie to make the move to Fratton Park on Friday and pen a deal that will keep him in League One this term.

Shrewsbury Town were keen on a deal for the midfielder and he would surely have received a glowing reference from Greg Docherty following his beneficial spell at New Meadow last season.

Those months away saw Docherty turn out 50 times for Sam Ricketts’ side as he scored ten goals in an impressive campaign.

The coming weeks will determine whether Docherty has done enough during that loan and in the opening stages of the summer to convince Gerrard he is worthy of a place in his plans for his second season at Ibrox.

Had he not left last August, there is almost no chance he would be in the running for a squad berth this term and it was only by going away and proving himself consistently that he has earned this opportunity.

McCrorie must now go and do the same with Pompey. At his age, and at this stage of his development, he needs to be playing week in week out in a competitive environment.

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Being brought off the bench every so often or starting one game in three or four this season wouldn’t have benefitted McCrorie at all and by taking one step back, he could stride forward with Rangers.

With Glen Kamara, Ryan Jack and Steven Davis for competition in the deeper roles, and Scott Arfield and new signing Joe Aribo also in the midfield, it is difficult to see where McCrorie regularly fits in right now. That is not to say he can’t in the future, though, and he is undoubtedly a talent that can go on and enjoy a long and successful career with his boyhood heroes.

Tipped as a future club captain by Gerrard in January, the 21-year-old is a player that fans are desperate to see succeed, so the furore over his exit was entirely understandable.

But Gerrard couldn’t guarantee McCrorie the football he needed in the coming weeks and months and the Scotland youth international has long been frustrated at a lack of regular match action.

That is what he should now get at Portsmouth and he will be part of a side going for promotion to the Championship, alongside Jack Ross’ Sunderland, who made a late move to try and secure his services.

The deal to take McCrorie away from Ibrox isn’t to get him off the books or out of Gerrard’s squad for the sake of it. It could prove to be the making of him as a player and he now has the chance to make the improvements to his game that Gerrard is looking for.

If McCrorie impresses, he will be back at Ibrox and competing for a starting berth next season. He, and the Light Blues fans, will hope that is the case.