Former Rangers goalkeeper Cammy Bell reckons ex-team mate Robby McCrorie has a big decision to make over his Ibrox future this summer.
The 24-year-old, who spent last season as third choice shot-stopper behind veteran Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin, is entering the final 12 months of his contract at his boyhood club.
Following successful loan spells with Morton, Queen of the South and Livingston in recent seasons, McCrorie made just two first-team starts for the Light Blues last term.
He kept clean sheets in both appearances, securing a crucial draw against Armenian outfit Alashkert during a Europa League qualifier and against Old Firm rivals Celtic in August 2021.
The former Scotland Under-21 international has already outlined his desire to become Rangers first-choice keeper but he would likely fill a similar role on the bench next season, with McGregor rumoured to be extending his stay at Rangers and McLaughlin also battling for the No1 spot.
Bell worked closely alongside a teenage McCrorie during his three-year stint at Ibrox between 2013 and 2016 and believes he has the potential to reach the top.
But he admits McCrorie’s personal development will only progress further if he is playing regularly, whether that is at Rangers or elsewhere.
He said: “Last season wasn’t great as Robby didn’t get a lot of football. I’d always encourage him to stay with Rangers but I understand that he needs to be playing to progress again.
“Even if Allan stays or goes, then Robby has to go to the club and ask whether they still see him as a No1 in the future.
“If they do then that’s great but he still has to be playing. He’s much better than being the No3 at a huge club.
“It will be a tough conversation and a lot will depend on how Rangers see Robby’s future. They might decide he isn’t what they need but Robby wouldn’t be short of offers.
“Plenty of clubs would be keen to get him if his future isn’t at Ibrox. Robby was brilliant in the two massive games and he handled the occasion and showed his temperament.
“I never doubted he’d be able to step up and it gave him a taste of it but he will want more.
“For me, though, you need to play 15 to 20 games in a row to get a real picture of what it is like to be the Rangers No1.
“I think Allan has shown how it is done over the years, while I don’t think Jon has had that run in his time with the club.
“It’s only when you are playing at the top level like Rangers when you are judged by the number of mistakes you make.
“If you are at another club and make ten saves and then make a mistake, no one minds as you have produced those other stops.
“But at Rangers if you make a mistake people don’t forget it and you are under scrutiny and pressure. You have to be able to handle that.
“Robby doesn’t want his career to stagnate and it’s not gone down the path he’d have wanted. He has a big decision to make this summer.
“Robby isn’t going to progress unless he gets more minutes. Your decision-making is better if you are playing.”
Despite his lack of game-time, McCrorie is expected to receive a call-up to the senior Scotland National Team following David Marshall’s decision to retirement from international football.
He will train with the squad tomorrow ahead of the upcoming UEFA Nations League matches against Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday and Armenia in Yerevan next week.