GLENN MIDDLETON has vowed to draw inspiration from Greg Docherty as he reaffirmed his determination to become a Rangers mainstay in the future.
The 19-year-old has joined Hibernian on a season-long loan after slipping behind the likes of Jordan Jones, Sheyi Ojo and Greg Stewart in the Ibrox pecking order.
The gifted winger, who has notched five goals in 28 appearances for the Gers, could make his Hibees debut against Morton this afternoon as he bid to showcase his promise on a more consistent basis in the capital.
It is a route that was taken by Docherty last term, with the combative midfielder being farmed out on loan to English League One side Shrewsbury Town, taking the division by storm and even finding the net in a breathless 2-2 draw against top-flight Wolves in the FA Cup.
Docherty now finds himself a valuable member of Steven Gerrard’s squad at Rangers, coming off the bench to make his fourth appearances of the campaign against FC Midtjylland on Thursday.
“Greg is one of the best examples of what can happen at Rangers in recent years,” said Middleton.
“If you believe in yourself and put in the work on loan, then a lot can happen. The rewards are there for you at the end of the season.
“Everybody who goes out on loan is looking to prove to people that they are capable of playing regularly at a good level.
“Can I make the grade at Rangers? Definitely. I am very driven and I know what I want to achieve. I am working hard every day – especially since I have been here [in Scotland] – and I want to keep taking steps every day and hopefully that will all add up.”
Middleton arrives at Easter Road with plenty of top-team experience, finding the net against Spartak Moscow in the Europa League group phase last term and shining in encounters with Villarreal, Rapid Vienna and Celtic.
While those fixtures were unforgettable and capped a fine breakthrough campaign, he was determined not to rest on his laurels and allow his career to drift.
Middleton continued: “I was very grateful for those opportunities – but I have always said this year it is about progressing again and taking that next step. If I can grasp the chance of regular football then I want to show people what I’m capable of week-in, week-out.”
And the Scotland under-21 internationalist had a visible spring in his step following his first week in training with the Easter Road outfit and revealed that he has relished the similarities between ‘hands-on’ Paul Heckingbottom and Gerrard.
“I have really enjoyed this week’s training,” He continued. “The manager is very hands-on in training and, at this moment in time, that is what I’m needing. I want to be playing regular football and getting information to help me develop.
“It was the same with the gaffer [Gerrard] at Rangers and the assistants there, that’s what they were doing with me.
“But this year I feel to get my head down and hopefully combine that with having games at the end of the week.”
In a bizarre twist of fate, Middleton’s transfer to Hibs was formally completed just 48 hours after Rangers hammered Hibs 6-1 at Ibrox last Sunday – albeit the move had been effectively agreed the previous week.
But the youngster has laughed off the notion that watching the Hibees capitulate in Govan may have given him second thoughts about subbing NAC Breda in favour of staying in Scotland.
“I’m sure when Chelsea lost 4-0 at the weekend it would be the same for anyone thinking about joining them,” he smiled. “So it was no different for me coming here, it is still a massive opportunity.
“There were a few jokes about it [in training]. But, from a Hibs perspective, it’s about us putting it right, starting Saturday. These things happen and Rangers are a very good team.”