Gary Holt urges Rangers kid Robby McCrorie to follow in the footsteps of Liam Kelly


LIVINGSTON boss Gary Holt is adamant Rangers kid Robby McCrorie can follow the Liam Kelly path to stardom.

McCrorie, 21, has joined the Lions on loan for the remainder of the season after his successful stint with Queen of the South was cut short – and could make his debut against St Johnstone tonight.

It is a well-trodden path for young goalkeepers, given Kelly helped Livingston win the League 1 title in the 2016/17 campaign after arriving on loan from Rangers.

McCrorie is likely to start against St Johnstone tonight

He then returned on a permanent basis in the summer of 2018 before thriving in the Premiership.

Kelly’s displays saw him called up to the Scotland squad before landing a transfer to QPR last July – and Holt reckons that should be all the inspiration McCrorie needs.

Holt said: “Liam Kelly came here initially, then went back [to Rangers], then came here permanently to have a right good go at the top-flight.

“The club did a lot of work with him, and he was willing to put the work in that we wanted – and look at what he has achieved.

“You want boys that are hungry to come and play and Robby [McCrorie] certainly made a good impression when we sat and chatted with him.

“We don’t give players leeway. You hit the ground running and buy into what we are doing from day one. If you do that, you’ll thrive.”

McCrorie is answering an SOS from Holt after recent signing Ryan Schofield suffered a thigh injury in Livi’s 3-1 Scottish Cup triumph over Raith Rovers on Saturday and Holt insists the swoop was a no-brainer after a string of fine showings for Queens.

He made 24 appearances for the Palmerston Park outfit during the first half of the season and belied his age to become a key part of Allan Johnston’s squad.

Holt continued: “With Ryan [Schofield] pulling up with a thigh injury, the potential of this move came up on Monday and we were asked if we’d like to pursue it.

“It was a no-brainer, given we’re not sure how long Ryan will be out.

“I’m a big admirer of Robby. I’ve seen him a few times this season down at Queen of the South.

Liam Kelly, shining during his time at Livi

“He is someone that has always been on the radar and has been playing week-in, week-out in the Championship and wants to progress.

“Rangers want him to progress, too, and we’ll give him the opportunity to fight for a first-team jersey.”

Holt, meanwhile, has confirmed that he is ‘hopeful’ of securing the signing of Ayr United ace Alan Forrest on a pre-contract deal imminently.

And he has refused to rule out pursuing an attempt to bring the waspish winger in this month.

He added: “We’ve gone through the proper channels and informed Ayr that we’d like to speak to Alan [Forrest].

“That’s a pre-contract agreement and if we can get that sorted I’ll be buzzing.

“Then it would be another conversation to have [about him coming in during January], but out of respect to Ayr – he’s their player – we are not looking at that right now.”

Talks with a view to securing the long-term future of in-form wide man Steven Lawless, whose contract expires this summer, are also progressing, with Holt adding: “We are trying to make sure we are not caught napping by tying down players to the proper lengths of contracts.”