Rangers defender Ross McCrorie targets regular spot for Scotland Under-21s

Scott McKenna and Ross McCrorie
Ross McCrorie (right) is likely to partner Aberdeen's Scott McKenna in central defence against Ukraine

Ross McCrorie has started to feel like "a proper first-team player" at Rangers and is now aiming to do likewise with Scotland Under-21s.

The 19-year-old defender is poised to make his first start for Scot Gemmill's side against Ukraine on Tuesday.

"That's me moved into the first-team dressing-room," said McCrorie of becoming a regular at Ibrox.

"I have made a few appearances for the 21s off the bench, but hopefully I can get my first start and build on that."

McCrorie is likely to get his chance for the young Scots after Hearts' John Souttar was ruled out of Tuesday's European Championship qualifier following concussion.

Souttar was injured in Friday's 1-1 draw with Latvia at McDiarmid Park and has returned to his club for treatment.

McCrorie made his Rangers debut in a 3-1 Scottish League Cup win over Partick Thistle in September and last week kept Portugal central defender Bruno Alves out of the side under interim manager Graeme Murty, scoring his first senior goal in the league win over Thistle.

Ross McCrorie celebrates his goal against Partick Thistle
McCrorie scored the opener for Rangers as they beat Partick Thistle 3-0 earlier this month

"Life has changed dramatically to be honest," McCrorie said. "Obviously making my debut and staying in the team for the last eight games, it has been brilliant and hopefully I can keep building on it.

"I am up among the first-team boys and I am loving every minute of it.

"It hasn't been too much difference because I know them all and train with them every day, but I have my locker, that's the difference.

"When you were with the under-20s you always felt like a youth player, but now I feel as if I am a proper first-team player and feel part of it. Hopefully I can get a few more games and see what happens."

The draw against Latvia left the Scots in third place in Group 4 with seven points from four games - a point behind Netherlands and six points off leaders England, both of whom have played a game more.

However, Gemmill remains relaxed about Scotland's qualification chances.

"I will tell you the truth, I haven't even looked at the league table," he said.

"It doesn't matter, the preparation will be exactly the same, wherever we are in the league table we need to find a way to beat Ukraine.

"Every game we play, it is about maximising the experience for the players.

"Whether we are playing a seeded team above or below us, home or away, they are all contributing factors to the dynamics of the game that our players need to live with."

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