‘We had a dartboard in the room . . . you’d end up with darts going everywhere’.
To say the McCrories possessed a potent sibling rivalry would seem something of an understatement. However, when it came to football the brothers were always on the same side.
Until Sunday afternoon.
Robby and Ross were teammates in for their local boys’ club in the South Ayrshire village of Dailly. They signed for Rangers together at the age of 14. They have both been Scotland regulars through various age groups.
But they will cross swords in a competitive fixture for the first time ever when Livingston arrive at Pittodrie, with visiting custodian Robby seeking to spoil his twin’s home debut.
A penny for the thought of the duo’s parents, Sharon and David.
“My mum and dad will be on the fence,” smiled Robby. “This is the first time something like this has ever happened for us.
“We have always been in the same team so this will be a bit different. We played in the same boys’ club, we both joined Rangers very young and we have been in the national team together. This is a first.
“My brother and I are very competitive and, regardless of playing against each other, we want the best for the team we are playing for. Our relationship will be getting brushed aside and I’ll be trying to do what’s best for Livingston and he’ll be the same.
“There was a wee bit of fighting growing up, even with simple games.
“We would just get angry if we got beat and, if the other one winds you up, then you end up going for each other.
“When we were younger, it would be FIFA on the Xbox. We had a dartboard in the room as well, so you’d end up with darts going everywhere!
“We both just love winning and hate losing – so we took that out on each other.”
While he looks back on those childish scuffles with a chuckle, he has no doubt the will to win possessed by both men has driven them on thus far in their footballing journeys.
“I think that competitive edge between us is something that pushed us on – trying to do well, make our family proud and really challenging each other,” adds McCrorie. “We both feel like we are good enough to go to a good level and that drive we both have is a big part of getting to where you want to be.”
Ross, however, has come to terms with the fact that he is destined not to become an Ibrox regular. A painful admission, undoubtedly, but not one which makes him a failure in Govan, his brother contends.
“People forget that we have only just turned 22 and Ross has played more than 50 games for Rangers,” continued Robby. “There are not many players at his age who can say that.
“It would perhaps be different if he hadn’t done that, but he effectively established himself at one point.
“Everyone needs to understand his decision. He just wants to be playing every week.
“The easiest thing to do when you are young – especially at a big club like Rangers – is to stay there and say ‘oh, I’m a Rangers player’. But Ross has realised he wants to go and play games.
“It’s the best thing for his career and Rangers have recognised that too.”
It did not happen for his brother, but Robby’s long-term goal remains to become a Rangers’ stalwart and, should that boil down to desire, work ethic and laser focus, he is a shoo-in to become Allan McGregor’s successor.
He speaks with a maturity well beyond his years and has the poise of a keeper who has played double the amount of senior games he has. In short, he already looks the part in the top-flight in his second loan stint at Livi.
McCrorie is following a similar path to McGregor, who cut his teeth at St Johnstone and Dunfermline before finally grasping the gloves at Rangers.
“We [McCrorie and McGregor] spoke about my future at the start of this season,” revealed McCrorie. “I made it quite clear I wanted to be out this year and he agreed with me.
“He told me he was like that as well – and that it was the best thing he did
“I could have just sat at Rangers but I want to be out playing. He has proven that path will give you an opportunity. It is just taking it when you get it.
“It is not easy but, if you can prepare yourself the best way possible, then you will have a fair crack at it.”