Docherty on why he had to leave Rangers

Mid­fielder ex­plains he went on loan to Shrews­bury to prove his class to Ger­rard

Evening Times - - SPORT - BY GRAEME McGARRY

WHEN Greg Docherty was grow­ing up, he dreamt of one day lift­ing tro­phies as a Rangers player. Had he hung around Ibrox this sea­son, there is a fair chance that he could have re­alised that dream.

But if the mid­fielder even­tu­ally does climb those steps in a light blue jersey to hoist sil­ver­ware sky­wards, he wants to have re­ally earned that right. To have made a cru­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the suc­cess.

That’s why he de­cided to take a step back in or­der to make two steps for­ward in his Rangers ca­reer by spend­ing this sea­son on loan at Shrews­bury, rather than be­ing a bit-part player in Steven Ger­rard’s Ibrox revo­lu­tion.

The choice was en­tirely his own, but de­spite the wrench that came with tem­po­rar­ily leav­ing the club he had worked so hard to be a part of, he be­lieves he will re­turn to Rangers a much bet­ter player for the ex­pe­ri­ence and ready to re­ally stake a claim to be a cen­tral fig­ure at Ibrox.

“I’m look­ing at the longterm,” Docherty said. “I don’t want this con­tract at Rangers to run out and say I was part of the Rangers regime, I ac­tu­ally want to be a part of it, play reg­u­larly and play a role in win­ning tro­phies.

“I just knew that if Rangers were win­ning things this year and I had been a bit-part player, then I wouldn’t feel as much in­volved as I re­ally want to.

“My long-term goal is to be a suc­cess­ful player there, and for the time be­ing, I need to get con­sis­tent games if I am to achieve that.

“Of course, some­times it’s dif­fi­cult watch­ing the team and see­ing them do well when you know you could be a part of it in some way, but I’m just think­ing of the long game.

“It was a daunt­ing de­ci­sion to come down here, and there was no pres­sure for me to leave. But once I hadn’t played in a cou­ple of the Europa League qual­i­fiers, I felt my­self that the best thing for me would be to go out on loan.

“As I went to go and speak to the man­ager, he was want­ing to speak to me as well, so he could tell that I was get­ting frus­trated and

It’s dif­fi­cult to watch the team do well but I’m think­ing long game

we both knew this was the best thing for me. He asked me how I felt, and I knew deep down that I wanted to be play­ing con­sis­tently and I’ve been for­tu­nate to be able to do that u p un­til now. “He couldn’t of­fer me the game-time that I needed this sea­son and that was fair enough. You never know with in­juries and ev­ery­thing, I could have been play­ing, but that was a chance that I didn’t want to take.

“I don’t want to set my­self back, I re­ally want to be push­ing on. My main thought was that I didn’t want to be sit­ting in a year’s time in the same boat where the man­ager wanted me to go out again to get more games.

“The man­ager has been very clear that he wants me to come back, and he is very keen for me to come back.

“So, I’ll take it game by game up un­til Jan­uary and see where things are at, and if I’m here for the sea­son then that’s fine. What­ever it takes to make a real suc­cess of my Rangers ca­reer, I’ll do it.”

Docherty ad­mits that he was con­cerned he wasn’t mak­ing a great first im­pres­sion on new man­ager Ger­rard dur­ing pre-sea­son as he strug­gled for fit­ness, and he is look­ing for­ward to show­ing his boss just what the move to Shrews­bury has done for him when he re­turns to the club.

“When I came into pre-sea­son I knew that I wasn’t up to full fit­ness and I wasn’t up to full sharp­ness, and it was frus­trat­ing for me be­cause I knew that I could be of­fer­ing so much more to the team,” he said.

“I was try­ing to do things and it wasn’t com­ing off for me, and I knew I could do bet­ter, so I didn’t want to be com­ing into the team know­ing that I wasn’t up to full match fit­ness.

“I have so much still to learn as well, I’m still young, and al­though I’ve played a lot of games I am still rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced foot­ball-wise.

“Com­ing down here gives me a new chal­lenge and that was part of the rea­son I came to Eng­land. It’s a clean slate where I can just go about my

busi­ness and take it from there.

“Get­ting out of the lime­light for a lit­tle while has been great. I’ve come down here to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing dif­fer­ent, and so far, I am en­joy­ing it.”

That he cer­tainly is. The 22-year-old has three goals in his 10 ap­pear­ances so far this term and is be­com­ing a firm favourite of the Shrews­bury sup­port.

They are not the only ones tak­ing no­tice of his form, with his Rangers team-mates and the Ibrox staff keep­ing up to date with his progress.

“I’m still on the team group chat and I speak to them reg­u­larly,” he said. “I’ve got a few close friends there, and I was ac­tu­ally in a few weeks back when I was up for the day.

“I still love to go in as much as I can, and ev­ery­one is very wel­com­ing. It’s not like I’m an out­sider or any­thing like that, my kit and my locker is still there.

“They have been keep­ing tabs on my game and my results, and it was nice to go back up last week af­ter get­ting my first goal be­cause they were all happy for me.

“They are get­ting clips sent up which I knew they would, and their sup­port makes me even more cer­tain that I’ve made the right de­ci­sion so that I’m in a po­si­tion to come back and re­ally make a push to be in the team.”

“I know it’s just a tem­po­rary thing down here, but I’m en­joy­ing it. It’s maybe com­ing out of my com­fort zone a wee bit, one that I didn’t know I maybe needed to come out of.

“Com­ing down here has made me ma­ture that wee bit more, and if it is go­ing to stand me in good stead for my Rangers ca­reer, then I’m all for it.”

Greg Docherty has en­joyed fine form at Shrews­bury so far this sea­son, but in­sists the move is just tem­po­rary

as he at­tempts to break into Rangers man­ager Steven Ger­rard’s (left) plans at Ibrox on his re­turn to Glas­gow

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