DAVIE MARTINDALE expects on-loan goalkeeper Robby McCrorie to see out the campaign with Livingston despite losing his No.1 spot.
And the Lions boss is adamant the Rangers prospect will emerge stronger from his fierce glove battle.
McCrorie, 22, started the campaign as first-choice stopper under Gary Holt, with his early displays even earning a maiden call-up to the senior Scotland squad in August.
However, a dip in form, allied with a positive Covid test following another international trip in November, saw him lose his place in the Livi side, with Polish keeper Max Stryjek excelling between the sticks.
Stryjek is now a fixture in the side and, with the Lions on a seven-game winning run, Martindale is understandably reluctant to tinker with the side.
Nevertheless, Martindale does not expect Rangers to utilise their recall clause in McCrorie’s season-long deal.
He said: “Would I expect Robby to see out the season here? Yes.
“As far as I’m concerned, we have two No.1s at Livingston.
“And this is the other side of football that Robby [McCrorie] has to deal with if he is going to be a Rangers keeper. You have to fight for your jersey every week and the competition is really strong.
“I feel for Robby a wee bit. Our form wasn’t great at the start of the season and we were giving goals away that weren’t to do with him. He maybe had a hand in a couple of them, but he was really unlucky.
“As a unit we weren’t defending very well.
“But Robby has been brilliant about the place, he is working hard and I would expect him to be here and fight for his place and keep pushing Max [Stryjek].”
He added: “We have 11 games in 35 days after Ross County so we will need to be extremely lucky if we play the same players.”