Historic ‘Noisers’ will know we have always been huge Greg Docherty fans around here. We were flabbergasted by his loan to Shrewsbury, and always felt he was a better option than the likes of Ovie Ejaria and Lassana Coulibaly (remember them) etc.
He proved his worth in League One and his return was expected to be an affirmation that he would now go on to clinch his place in the Rangers side.
The reality is quite different.
Steven Gerrard has clearly never been one of his biggest fans, electing a rotten Malian and Liverpool reject (both similar ages) instead in his place, but the-now 22-year old was expected to make a real fist of the first team this season, on his return from England.
And with us now eight serious matches into the campaign, Docherty continues to be a fringe man under Stevie and simply never a first choice.
It was evident when the manager chose to bring in Joe Aribo – a League One attacking midfielder who actually had inferior stats to Docherty for a better team in the same division. That signing was sure evidence Docherty was not going to be a priority.
And the truth is while we still love Docherty, what we’re seeing on the pitch with the likes of Jack, Davis, Kamara and Aribo is entirely justifying any omissions we’re witnessing and it’s making us rather forget those on the sidelines.
What does this mean for the lad? Well, his future prospects, at Ibrox, aren’t terribly bright. Under Gerrard for the time being he will continue to be a fringe player, a squad man, doing a job when asked but never quite clinching a convincing place in the first team regularly. Whether this is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘fair’ or not doesn’t really matter – as long as what Gerrard does with the players as a whole continues we can’t complain.
In truth, we see signs in Aribo that he really is quite a stonking upgrade on the ex-Hamilton man. He hasn’t quite set the world alight yet in a match which truly counts, but he’s getting there and he keeps on showing glimpses of his remarkable ability.
That said, the role of the likes of Docherty is important in its own right – a high-quality player able to come in and perform at a fine level as deputy.
The signing and development of Joe Aribo is why we are learning to truly trust Gerrard and his judgement. We couldn’t fathom why Docherty was being overlooked for a guy with marginally less impressive stats in the same division for a better team – but we see the signs now of the qualities Aribo brings.
Our man at the Valley explained what a coup Aribo was, and while we’ve, as mentioned, not quite yet seen the full repertoire of what he can give us, he clearly has the tools to do it.
And that’s why Stevie is the man who picks who starts as Rangers’ attacking midfielder, and not us.