Football/Soccer

Rangers midfielder Ross McCrorie aiming to end year on top in Scotland

Celtic and Rangers are once again battling for the Scottish title.

Rangers midfielder Ross McCrorie feels it would be a "huge" psychological boost to end 2018 on top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Manager Steven Gerrard claimed he was not interested in Rangers' new position after being frustrated by their inability to kill off Hamilton in a 1-0 win at Ibrox on Sunday.

Celtic's defeat by Hibernian earlier in the day allowed Rangers to go top but their previous spell at the summit lasted less than three days before defeat by Aberdeen allowed Kilmarnock to overtake them.

Rangers followed that with a draw against 10-man Dundee and McCrorie knows they need to improve if they are to remain top.

"The next four games are massive for us," said McCrorie as he and his team-mates delivered a £10,000 donation from the Rangers Charity Foundation to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

"If we can be more consistent then hopefully we can finish the end of the year at the top.

"That would be huge for us, to be honest. That's our aim for the end of the year, we want to finish on a high so that would be the best possible outcome for us.

"Our aim is to finish top so obviously we are working to stay at the top all the time.

"But that doesn't come through inconsistency so we know ourselves we need to be a lot more consistent with our game."

Sunday's results mean only eight points separate the top eight teams in the league and Rangers know they face a serious test when they visit eighth-placed Hibs on Wednesday. They also play Hibs next week, in between games against St Johnstone and Celtic.

"It's very tight, the league," McCrorie said. "It's great entertainment for the fans and tells you the quality of the teams in the league. But we are just focused on ourselves and we'll take each game as it comes. Hibs are a big team and it's a massive game for us."

McCrorie has started the last two games in midfield after being restricted to only five minutes of action during October and November, and the 20-year-old feels he is now benefiting from the guidance of Gerrard and Gary McAllister.

"It's been up and down but recently I have been involved so hopefully that continues," he said.

"The manager has been great with me. He knows I'm young and he wants to develop me into the way he wants me to be, so whatever the manager says then I'm fine with that.

"The gaffer has been one of the best players in the world and one of the best of his generation. If I can take little bits of information he feeds down to me, then I can improve my game.

"It's not just those two (Gerrard and McAllister), all the coaches help. I've got Tommy Culshaw, Michael Beale and sports scientists there, they all help in different parts.

"But right now I feel I'm a far better player than I was this time last year. With all the pointers they have given me, I feel a lot more rounded as a player."

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