When it comes to sending young Scottish players out on loan, the traditional method for both Rangers and Celtic has been to farm them to their league rivals.

This way, it strengthens teams against everyone else in the league whilst weakening them against yourself. Loan players generally don’t play against parent clubs.

It also means young players get that first-team experience of the league. But over the last two seasons Rangers have opted for a different route.

Greg Docherty has a very impressive season with Shrewsbury. (Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

The Ibrox club now seems to be sending their players to England with English League One the most common destination.

It’s been a strategy which allows players to get away from the goldfish bowl of Scottish football and develop in a new environment.

The likes of Greg Docherty excelled at League One Shrewsbury last season. Jordan Rossiter earned promotion with League Two Bury.

This year Docherty returns to the first-team squad, whilst Rossiter has been farmed out to League One Fleetwood.

He’ll be joined in the English third tier by Ross McCrorie, who has signed on at promotion hopefuls Portsmouth for the campaign.

 

Glenn Middleton is also being touted for a move to League One Coventry or Championship Hull in this window.

It is very difficult to imagine that Scottish Premiership clubs weren’t interested in the likes of Docherty, McCrorie, Rossiter and Middleton should they have known of their availability.

They are talented young players who are well aware of the league.

Granted, Stephen Kelly and Cammy Palmer have just earned moves to the Scottish Championship, but this is a tier below Rangers.

There’s a lot of excitement over Ross McCrorie’s move to Portsmouth. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It appears that Rangers consider the lower tiers of England as a better place for their more-advanced young players to develop their game.

Whether that comes down to the standard of football, the politics of the game here or Rangers simply wanting to tread their own path, it’s an exciting approach.

And one which means rival Scottish Premiership sides will have to rely on other clubs to help support their recruitment.

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