STEVEN GERRARD reckons Greg Docherty is reaping the rewards of his loan spell away from Rangers.

And he hopes his success at Shrewsbury will inspire Ross McCrorie to make the most of his temporary switch and return to Ibrox ready to challenge for a starting spot next term.

Gerrard allowed Docherty to head for the exit door last summer as he made the move south of the border.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a productive campaign in League One and has now forced his way into Gerrard’s plans in the opening weeks of the campaign.

The midfielder produced an impressive performance on Thursday night as he helped the Light Blues to a 6-0 victory over St Joseph’s at Ibrox.

It was one of several positives for boss Gerrard as his side progressed to the Europa League second qualifying round to set up a meeting with familiar foes Progres Niederkorn.

And he has challenged McCrorie to follow in Docherty’s footsteps as he looks to make his mark with Portsmouth.

Gerrard said: “He has come back a different man. He has matured a lot from his experience, going out of his comfort zone, living away from his family, living up to the expectation of being a Rangers player on loan.

“He won Player of the Year and had a real positive loan. I think Shrewsbury did a fantastic job with him.

“On the evidence of what I’ve seen since day one of pre-season, he looks a different player and a different person.

“So we are delighted with what he has offered since he came back. Fair play to him.

“There are different reasons why you suggest loans to players.

“Ross McCrorie is in a very similar situation to what the Doc was in 12 months ago.

“Where they are at in their careers, they needed to go and play 40-45 games. If I’m not in a position to promise them that, the best thing sometimes is to go to the right club with the right manager and have that opportunity.

“In your career, your first 150 games are probably the ones where you learn the most. And you probably need to play quite regularly to do that.

“We are hoping that Ross follows suit and has a real strong, positive loan and he can be back with us in a year’s time.

“We have got a call-back on Ross, but I’ve got no plans to call him back if the loan is positive. I can’t pick Kenny Jackett’s team, but I hope he plays quite regularly.”