Greg Docherty Factfile
Clubs: Hamilton Academical, Rangers
What’s his history?
Although he’s born in - and plays at youth level for - Scotland, the 21-year-old does have Irish heritage.
He joined first club Hamilton Accies at the age of just 9 and came through their ranks, impressing current Preston north End boss Alex Neil making his professional debut in 2013 for the Lanarkshire club, aged just 17.
Following Accies promotion to the SPL in 2014, Docherty rose to prominence at New Douglas Park, becoming a regular in their engine room until a drawn out chase ended in a reported £675k move to boyhood club Rangers in January last year, beating off the likes of promotion chasers Cardiff City to the signing of the Scottish Under-21 international.
What’s he like?
He’s a creative box-to-box midfielder with bags of energy.
His former Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning commented that his “fitness levels are ridiculous” during an interview last year. The midfielder is a qualified personal trainer and before turning full time at Hamilton, he was a 400m runner - so it’s perhaps no surprise he’s best known for his fitness levels and energy in the middle of the park.
Former manager Canning further commented he was “level headed and very mature for his age” following his departure from Hamilton in January, and whilst he hasn’t set the world alight at Ibrox, he certainly hasn’t looked overawed by the expectations of a passionate Glasgow crowd, although a low point did come when he was on the end of a 5-0 drubbing by nearest rivals Celtic.
He’s well built, but far from immobile and will should add strength that we have been sorely lacking in the center of the park for numerous years. He doesn’t shirk responsibility either, and despite his youthful age his work rate, commitment and knack of grabbing an assist should make him an intriguing prospect for Jack Ross as he looks for a central midfielder to complement main summer signing, fellow Glaswegian, Dylan McGeough.
His style has been likened to former Rangers midfielder Steven Davis. He’s productive further up the field and had produced a solid amount of assists for a box-to-box midfielder over his career.
He fits the remit of “young and hungry” and whilst he will certainly have an eye on returning to the blue side of Glasgow, there’s surely no harm in having a up and coming youngster that will feel he has plenty to prove.
Why hasn’t it worked for him at Rangers?
It’s hard to say because he’s only been there six-months, however it probably hasn’t helped that the man who brought him to the club - Graeme Murty - had since departed and been replaced by a new manager who will have his own players that he’d like to bring in and his own ideas that he’ll be looking to implement on the Ibrox club.
Living in Glasgow, I can promise you, if you think Sunderland fans are impatient, Rangers fans are just as demanding... if not more so - and in the case of Docherty, that has certainly counted against him.
Moving to the club, he was seen as the “next big Scottish star” with all the potential to follow in the footsteps of Barry Ferguson and the like - the truth is, Docherty has potential to be good, but he still has a long, long way to go before he can be even mentioned in the same breath as the former Rangers captain.
He came on board as a true Rangers fan, and spoke with all the passion of one when he signed on the dotted line. It’s easy to see why the expectations were there, but from the outside looking in, it’s perhaps even easier to understand why he hasn’t been a huge hit at Rangers... yet.
It does speak of a good character though that the youngster has reportedly asked to leave on loan to prove himself. Rather than sitting around collecting his wages, he has shown initiative and requested a loan move out so he can continue to develop. This is the kind of attitude we are looking for on Wearside, with players wanting to come the Stadium of Light and seeing our club as a huge opportunity.
For similarities, it’s perhaps worth looking at the likes of Callum McGregor at Celtic. Before a loan move to Notts County in 2013, he was a relative unknown outside of his own fan-base, but had a fabulous season in League One at Meadow Lane, returning to Celtic having scored 12 goals from central midfield and is now a key component in Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Docherty is, and was, much more highly rated in the Scottish Premiership than McGregor was then - so both Sunderland and Rangers will hope the loan move will emulate a similar sort of success.