Greg Docherty may have sacrificed his chance to sample Rangers’ Europa League campaign this season but he is aiming to play his part in European nights at Ibrox for years to come.
The 22-year-old midfielder has joined Shrewsbury until the end of the season after Gers boss Steven Gerrard suggested he would benefit from gaining more action out on loan.
But while the former Hamilton youngster has grasped the opportunity handed to him by the Sky Bet League One outfit with both hands, it has not stopped his mind wandering to events back home.
Sitting on his lonesome in a rented flat 280 miles from Glasgow, Docherty confessed he has been left pining for Ibrox after seeing the Light Blues kick off their group stage fixtures with impressive performances against Villarreal and Rapid Vienna.
Their 3-1 home win over the Austrians was played out to a thunderous back-drop and Docherty is as determined as ever to taste that Ibrox atmosphere for himself.
“I’ve watched the European games and it’s been hard,” he told Press Association Sport. “The atmosphere seemed amazing and those are the type of matches I’ve always dreamed of being involved in, so it was tough not being there.
“I went on the first two European trips to Macedonia and Croatia and it was tough as, while I was delighted for the guys getting a couple of great results, I wanted to be contributing.
“So I’ve taken a gamble coming down here to Shrewsbury. The hope is that while I’m missing out on some big nights this season, I can develop to the point where I’ll be able to look forward to many of them in the years to come.
“I’ve still got four years on my contract and I fully intend to see it out – if not extend it.”
Gerrard has made sure Docherty does not feel he is out of sight and out of mind.
He said: “The gaffer told me any time I’m up visiting, I should pop in. He said he wants me still to be around the place.
“My kit and my locker’s still there and the last time I was up on a day off, I popped in to use the gym and had a quick chat with him and the staff.
“I’d scored the weekend before and the gaffer mentioned it. It’s nice to know he’s keeping an eye on me.
“They have made sure I still feel very welcome and everyone seemed delighted to see me when I popped in which was nice. I know what I need to focus on to ensure I come back up the road and become a Rangers mainstay.”
Adding a killer touch to his game is one of the improvements asked of him and Docherty has responded with three goals in his last five appearances for the Shrews.
“The is probably my best goalscoring run ever,” he said. “This was one of the reasons why I was so keen to go out on loan, to show I can contribute in the final third.
“I’ve enjoyed my time down here. Getting a run of games is really benefiting me.
“It’s not just on the pitch I’ve developed, I’ve matured massively off it. I’m living alone for the first time and I’ve become a bit more independent.
“My girlfriend and I were in the process of finding our own place but we’ve had to put that on the back-burner as I’m now down here.
“But we’re making it work and my family are pretty much down for every game.
“However, I’m alone down here most of the time and if things aren’t going well it’s harder, as I don’t have that support network.
“But that’s allowed my mental state to grow and strengthen. That was something I was keen to do because when you play for the Old Firm, there are a lot of demands put on you and you need to be able to cope.”