Docherty on why he had to leave Rangers
Midfielder explains he went on loan to Shrewsbury to prove his class to Gerrard
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