By Warren Dunn

21st Nov, 2020 | 4:40pm

Rangers loanee close to Scotland squad thanks to 'Smart' Gerrard decision - Kris Boyd

Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd believes it was a “smart” move to send Ross McCrorie out on loan to Aberdeen this season.

The versatile midfielder has made 11 league appearances this season for the Dons, but will not be eligible to face his parent club on Sunday.

Positioned in defence or at the base of Derek McInnes’ midfield McCrorie has impressed Boyd, who said that Steven Gerrard deserves credit for taking the decision to loan him.

“Aberdeen will be without Ross McCrorie as he’s essentially still a Rangers player,” he wrote in his Scottish Sun column.

“I thought it was smart of Gerrard to make sure McCrorie could only go to another Scottish club on loan this season. A deal was virtually agreed with Hibs before they stepped away at the last minute. But Aberdeen went for it.

“McCrorie is now pushing to get into the Scotland squad and he wouldn’t be in that position if he hadn’t agreed to the deal to join Aberdeen.”

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The 22-year-old is now on his fourth spell on loan, but is increasingly looking like a player that could make the step up at Rangers next season.

With 2.2 tackles and 1.2 clearances per game this season, he has acted as a capable defensive shield in the centre of the park, averaging 35 passes at a 79.5% completion rate (via WhoScored).

Only Rangers have enjoyed a better defensive record than the Dons this season (via WhoScored) and McCrorie has been a big part of that effort. According to Boyd, he is now closing in on the Scotland squad and Gerrard deserves credit for managing his development.

The Gers have a stacked squad in defence and midfield and it is tough to see where the game time would have come for McCrorie this season. However, with Steven Davis and Scott Arfield in their 30s, there is a pathway to more football in the future, if he continues to develop.

In other Rangers news, what can Bongani Zungu bring to the Rangers midfield?