Chaplains Corner - Robby McCrorie

In the latest edition of our popular Chaplains Corner, Grant Hamilton speaks to on loan goal-keeper, Robby McCrorie.


I’m going to start a bit differently to the other interviews I’ve done so far so my starter question will be about you personally. You can tell me as much or as little as you want too. Here it is; you came to Queens at the beginning of the season so Queens fans probably don’t know you that well. What are the essential things we need to know about Robbie McCrorie?

The essential things? In terms of the football side of things I am very hard working and always try to be the best I can be. Then more generally I like to try and get on with everyone and be a help to them when I can. I think I’m quite an open person that is easy enough for people to come and speak too.


How have you found settling into the Queens squad?

I think I have settled in very comfortably. I was definitely helped by being here from the very beginning of the season. Initially I came for the start of the Betfred cup and technically although those cup games are competitive, they are almost like friendly games because they take the place of friendlies that we might have played. Those games really helped me find my feet and it meant that when the league games did eventually start I had already played a few matches with everyone else. In general as well, we have a good group of boys who all get on well with each other and want the best for each other.   


You might find my next question a strange one but I’ll ask it anyway. In the limited time I have known you I have found you to be a very humble and modest person but I have spoken to goalkeeping coaches who tell me you’ve been groomed for stardom from a very early age. Are you aware of that expectation level?

Yes. I’ve had it since I was quite young. I’ve been very fortunate especially to have played for my country. I’ve been involved through all the age groups with Scotland and that is a massive bonus; it’s something everybody dreams of. In the future I obviously hope to play in the A squad. That’s a target for me.

Having said that, I don’t think you can look too far ahead in football because you never know what’s round the corner. What I would say is that I set myself high standards and I’m pushing myself to get to the highest level possible.


I had a sub question that’s relevant here which is ‘how do you manage the expectations?’

I am very focussed on taking a game at a time and trying to be consistent each time with the aim of building that consistency over 6 months then a season. I’ve definitely got the drive and determination and if I keep working hard there’s no reason why I can’t get to where I want to go. (GH I like your attitude.)


Obviously you’re on loan from Rangers so for Queens fans who may not know, what does your working week look like at the moment?

I always train on a Monday with Rangers; outdoors in the morning then I do my gym work in the afternoon. On Tuesday I’m in with Queens for the same again, outdoors in the morning and gym in the afternoon. Wednesday tends to be a day off so I normally go back home and spend time with my family. On Thursday and Friday I’m always with Queens preparing for the match on the Saturday then on Sunday I sometimes have a day off but more often than not, I’ll go and do my recovery session with Rangers. I like to do some fitness work on a Sunday but I also like to make the most of my time off so I try and keep Sunday as relaxed as possible.

The schedule is good for me because it means that after the game on a Saturday I’m back at Rangers for one or two days then I can come back to Queens, fully focussed on the next match.


What is training like at Rangers? I don’t mean so much the technical side but just the experience of it. Sometimes at Queens you are only training with very small numbers of players.

The differences in squad sizes is the most noticeable thing. With Queens you will literally have 18 players training but at Rangers you can have 4 goalies training and at least another 30 players. That’s 34 right away, even before you add in some of the younger boys on the fringes.The squad at Rangers is massive but the club is huge and they need competition for every place. With respect to Queens, the level Rangers are playing at is higher and that really helps push me on as well.


Is Allan McGregor getting worried about you yet?

I think he is just focussing on trying to play as long as he can.


Would someone like him ever offer you any advice or encouragement?

Oh yes. I remember the first time he was at Rangers. I was only 14 then and I got the chance to train with the first team for the first time. All my gloves were in a bad way and he gave me a pair of his gloves to wear. He’s probably forgotten that now but I’ve still got them in the house.

Since he came back to the club he’s been great with me. He always tells me to be a bit selfish, to be driven and he encourages me that I can go as high as I want if I stick at it. He’s definitely been good with me and so has Wes (Foderingham) and Colin Stewart the goalkeeping coach. Everyone has been really good to be honest. They all try and push each other on to better things.


You might have to think a bit about this question. What clubs have you been loaned out to so far and can you tell me something you learned at each one?

My first club was Berwick Rangers in League 2. I spent a full season there and it went well. They were part-time so it was strange getting used to training at night-time again. I was 18 or 19 when I was at Berwick and it had been a couple of years since I last trained at night. What I learned there was an appreciation of the sacrifice that boys make at that level, just to play football. Some guys would finish their work and then drive for 2 hours just to get to training. It was a bit of an eye opener but thankfully, I have always been very well grounded and I try to appreciate everything I’ve got.

I then went to Morton for the second half of last season. That was my first loan to a full-time club and my first time away from Rangers completely. I learned straight away that we were playing at a higher level in a very tight championship and I gained a lot of good experience playing against a better level of player.

This season is my first full season with a full-time club. I think it is going well with Queens and I hope that will continue. I’m learning something every game, especially about how to manage games and finding wee bits that I can put together for myself to make me a more complete player. That’s probably something I’ve tried to do everywhere I’ve been and I feel that I am getting better and better the more experience I get.

As this is my first full season in the Championship I am not looking too far ahead. It is a tough league and the priority is to do the best I can this season with Queens. Next season we’ll see what happens but I know I’ll be looking to improve again. For now I have to say that everyone at Queens has been nothing but supportive and it’s definitely been good for me. 


On a more personal note, one of the core values of Sports Chaplaincy is ‘relationships. ’ How important do you think it is to have a Chaplain or someone else in your life that you can talk to confidentially about issues you are facing? Team mates as rivals but also in the trenches

That’s massive. A lot of awareness has been raised recently about mental health. People definitely need someone they can talk to. Having someone like a Chaplain can take a lot of pressure of you if you are able to talk to them. Someone like yourself coming in regularly is a good option for the boys to have.


I’ve said this before that sometimes I feel like a ball boy or someone who just hangs around the place (laughs) but it’s just part of being available.

That’s what I mean. You’re always there and everyone knows that they always have the option of going to you to get help.


I’m not sure how to phrase this question but I would suggest to you that football can be an unusual environment because as a team you are in the trenches together but your team mates are also your rivals to some extent. Maybe it isn’t so obvious for a goalkeeper?

I’m always aware that there is only one position and being honest with you, you have to have a bit of a ruthless streak to make sure that you are the best. You can still support the other goalies and help them but you have to have that attitude that whoever comes in the door, you can push them and they can push you, but the aim is always for you to get better. As you go up the levels you especially have to push yourself and each other. As the quality of a team gets better it can be very competitive between team mates but that can only be good for the team.

Personally, I always like competition because it pushes me on to get better and that can only be positive.


I know you’ve said you are well grounded and that you try and take things one challenge at a time but just to finish off, what is your dream?

I think that for years I’ve been working towards playing for Rangers. Playing at Ibrox is something that I’ve always wanted to do from a very small child coming up through the ranks. A big dream would also be playing number 1 for the national team in the future. I’ve got very high targets but why not? I push myself as hard as I can and I know that wherever I end up I want to be able to look back and at least say that I did my best and worked as hard as I could. If I can do that then I’ll be happy whatever happens.


For me Robbie, and I’m not just saying this to flatter you, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you and I really do hope you achieve those dreams.

Thanks very much Grant.