ROSS McCRORIE has revealed how a lengthy discussion with Rangers manager Steven Gerrard led to him insisting he wanted to go on loan to Portsmouth this season to ensure he got plenty of game time, instead of the frustration of sitting at the sidelines at Ibrox.

The midfielder will captain Scotland Under 21s tonight in their first Euro 2021 qualifier against San Marino in Paisley. McCrorie opted to move to Fratton Park this summer, despite featuring in 30 games for Rangers last season.

Gerrard trusted the 21-year-old enough to play him in three of the four Old Firm derbies last season, but McCrorie stressed it was him who decided to go to English League One in search of game time, with Gerrard bringing in 11 players during the transfer window. And he believes there's plenty of similarities between title favourites Pompey and Rangers.

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He said: "I spoke to the manager about what I did last year and the season ahead. He knew I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of appearances I made last season. He knew I wanted to be playing week in week out. I told him that! 

"He told me that the squad is so big at Rangers and it would be tough to play every week. I could have stayed in my comfort zone and played a few games but I wanted to go somewhere and play every week and make a name for myself. He could have been selfish and kept me at Rangers, but he said I had to be selfish about myself and I’m 21 now and I need to play games to develop. I don’t want to be sitting about any more.

"At Rangers, I was grateful the manager put me in for those big games and that he could trust me, but this is my time at Pompey now. I want to get as much football as possible and see what happens. It was so frustrating when I was in and out of the Rangers team. I don't like sitting on the sidelines at any time.

"We are favourites to win the league at Portsmouth and I’m already feeling the pressure from the fans, but I can handle it due to my upbringing with Rangers. I’ve grown up with pressure all my life from being a Rangers player since I was a kid. Some people can’t handle the pressure. They crumble. But I feel I thrive under pressure."

Under 21s boss Scot Gemmill, who will be without Celtic winger Mikey Johnston for tonight and Croatia next week after he injured himself during the Old Firm game, was full of praise for key man Billy Gilmour, after the 18-year-old made his Chelsea debut last weekend.

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He said: "I think it shows his level, it shows he is trusted to play in that environment, he's obviously got the confidence of his manager, which is crucial. He's done that through his performances, day in, day out. He's got the right attitude and mentality as well as the right technical level.

"Internationally, we can give him an oppprtunity. He's an exciting player, but we have lots of exciting players and this is a great opportunity to try and help them maximise it."