On-loan Rangers midfielder Greg Docherty enjoying new lease of life at Hibs
But as far as the on-loan Rangers midfielder is concerned, it’s a break he could do without as he begins to enjoy his football again.
It is, he admits, a purely selfish thought but having been given a new lease of life in a green-and-white shirt after five months of inaction, it’s one that is entirely understandable.
Sidelined at Ibrox, the 23-year-old’s last taste of first-team football was a Betfred Cup tie against East Fife in mid-August, reason enough for him to relish every opportunity he gets to pull on his boots.
“At the start of the season I was just waiting for that opportunity to come and it didn’t really come,” said the former Hamilton Accies player. “So every day I was working hard waiting to see if I would be called upon.
“But I knew there was a chance that I could be looking for football elsewhere come January and I’m glad I kept at it and kept myself in the best shape possible. The more games the better for me at the moment, there’s no midweek games coming up for a while after Sunday which is disappointing, but I think the other boys are happy with that.
“I’m a bit gutted, but it’s been a busy schedule and it will be good to get a week’s training under my belt.”
Time on the training ground has been in short supply for Jack Ross’s players since they returned from their winter break on the Costa del Sol, giving new recruits such as Marc McNulty, Stephane Omeonga and Paul McGinn limited opportunity to get to know their new team-mates while Docherty admitted he’s still to reach peak fitness.
He said: “It’s sort of learning on the job, it’s difficult to get everyone out [on the training pitch] at the one time. Obviously a lot of guys have played a lot of football, some players have been rested as they are carrying niggles. It’s been a busy period but I think sometimes it actually helps being thrown in at the deep end and there’s no better place to learn than on the pitch. I’m really enjoying it, playing football again. I’ve had two games in quick succession and I feel I am getting sharper, getting my fitness back – which is great. This winning feeling is under-estimated at times, when you are not playing it’s what you strive to get back into the team for.”
Ross and his assistant John Potter have revealed how Docherty caught their eye when playing against Sunderland last season while on loan at Shrewsbury following his move from Hamilton to Ibrox. They believed he could bring a different dimension to their side but, he conceded, that doesn’t make him an automatic choice. He said: “There’s a lot of quality in that area. I’ve come here, but I have to fight for my place.
“The manager has touched on it, that I have to stay at it. Vykintas Slivka came in and was very good against Ross County, keeping Stephane Omeonga out of the team and obviously Steven Whittaker has been in there as well, playing really well.
“These guys are top, top players and have a good record with the club while I’m coming in and I have to stay at it and hope to stay in the team. I’m always striving to be the best I can. I have a lot to improve on and it’s a good platform for me and I can really get going again.”