Rangers' Greg Docherty 'better for year away' and feels ready to stake claim

Oxford United's Cameron Brannagan challenges Rangers' Greg Docherty
Greg Docherty (right) played most of Rangers' win over Oxford United

Greg Docherty believes he has come back from a season on loan to Shrewsbury Town a better player and ready to stake a claim in Rangers' starting line-up.

The 22-year-old midfielder played 60 minutes of Sunday's 5-0 friendly win over Oxford United at Ibrox.

Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts has described him as a "special player" after 10 goals in 50 appearances.

"I feel a lot better for it, so I'll go and push the boys ahead of me and try to get in the team," Docherty said.

"I think I came back in good shape fitness-wise, but I also think, in the games leading up to this one and in training as well, I have performed at a high standard, so it is just about believing in myself and being confident.

"The manager has said that as well - just to go and do your thing and show why I picked up a few accolades last year."

Docherty was a regular with Hamilton Academical after coming through their youth ranks before winning a January 2018 transfer to Ibrox.

But, having made 10 starts and four substitute appearances, he was sent out on loan after Gerrard succeeded Graeme Murty last summer.

"It was special just to walk out the tunnel again," Docherty told RangersTV. "It's been on my mind for a long time and I have been working towards that goal, but I am not getting too carried away.

"Obviously it is still so early on and it is a friendly, but I want to keep improving and show the fans that I am a different player and that I am better for my year away."

Asked what he had improved on, Docherty said: "I think maturing off the pitch was the main one and being relied on by my team-mates to go and produce something."

Docherty hopes to be involved when Rangers play their opening competitive game of the season on Tuesday away to St Joseph's of Gibraltar in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie.

"It is still so early on, but there is going to be a lot of competition for places and the boys know they are going to have to put in a performance," he added.

"I am particularly looking forward to playing St Joseph's here at Ibrox. I think it will be close to a sell out and it will be great for us, but we have to get Tuesday out the way first."

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