On Monday morning, Hibernian confirmed that Greg Docherty had officially returned to Rangers.
The termination of his loan deal – prompted by the decision to bring the Premiership season to a close amid the global health crisis – is a blow for the 23-year-old.
— Hibernian FC (@HibernianFC) May 25, 2020
After a frustrating first half of the season watching on at Ibrox, he had finally got the chance to go out and get games under his belt. An opportunity to show that he was deserving of a spot in the Rangers midfield.
In truth, he couldn’t have done a great deal more during his stint with the Hibees. His final two appearances for the club – in defeats to Hearts and Aberdeen – weren’t his best, but from just eight outings, he scored three goals, registered five assists and picked up several Man of the Match awards.
He made a remarkably instant impact considering he hadn’t featured in a first-team fixture for a number of months before the move.
Unfortunately for him, though, it’s unlikely to be enough to earn him opportunities at Ibrox next season.
The midfielder is contracted to the club until 2022 and so, if he wants to stay, he can. There are certainly plenty of supporters who want him to stick it out and fight for his spot.
Yet, he was well down Steven Gerrard’s pecking order prior to his January departure and it’s unlikely that a handful of strong displays elsewhere will be enough to change his manager’s mind.
Ryan Jack, Steven Davis, Joe Aribo and Scott Arfield will all be back next season. There’s a chance the club could look to cash in on Glen Kamara if big offers come in, but even if he leaves, Ross McCrorie will soon return from his own loan spell at Portsmouth.
What’s more, it has been alleged that the club are looking to recruit more midfielders, with Lewis Ferguson of Aberdeen one of those linked with a move [Scottish Sun].
All that paints a fairly bleak picture for Docherty.
Since arriving from Hamilton in January 2018, not much has gone the lifelong bluenose’s way.
He works extremely hard and certainly carries a threat in the final third, but the feeling seems to be amongst the coaching staff that he doesn’t quite have enough technical ability to displace the senior internationals he’s in competition with. While there’s no shame in that, it must be a great source of frustration.
After two and a half years at the club, he has made just 19 appearances and as things stand, it’s hard to see how he’ll add to that tally in any significant way next season.