Nicola Docherty: Rangers full-back on Steven Gerrard's call, copying James Tavernier and SWPL 1 title chase

Rangers Women full-back Nicola Docherty tells the Scottish Football Podcast how Steven Gerrard offered tactical advice for their SWPL 1 title challenge; Rangers top on goal difference from reigning champions Glasgow City ahead of this week's resumption

GETTY - Nicola Docherty in action for Rangers Women 1:43
Rangers Women defender Nicola Docherty recalls a Zoom call with Steven Gerrard and his advice for their SWPL 1 title challenge.

Rangers Women full-back Nicola Docherty says Steven Gerrard has been trying to help with their title challenge after offering tactical advice on a Zoom call ahead of the season resuming this week.

Rangers sit top of the Scottish Women's Premier League 1 (SWPL 1) on goal difference, ahead of reigning champions Glasgow City - winners of the league for the past 14 seasons - after seven games.

The 21-game season is set to resume on Sunday, having been suspended in January due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

Docherty and her teammates are hoping to complete a historic club double by adding to the men's Premiership title and have had the support of Gerrard along the way.

"The main thing is that 'one club' mentality," Docherty said. "The club have shown that they really are taking the women's game seriously.

"We even had a Zoom call with Steven Gerrard. That was pretty big for us. He came on to let us know that the club care. Ross Wilson (Rangers director of football) and the directors are all pretty keen to push the women's game forward.

SNS - Scotland and Rangers full-back Nicola Docherty
Image: Docherty was part of the first Scotland squad to appear at a Women's World Cup last summer

"Steven talked to us about how to beat the low block and stuff that they've been coming up against, trying to help us.

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"Rangers [men's side] have done fantastically in Europe and with the 55 [league titles] and now talking about Champions League football.

"The club are wanting to go to the next level again and there's a real buzz around the training ground just now. It's an exciting time to be part of the club."

Docherty, who won eight league titles during her time at Glasgow City before switching to Rangers in February last year, has also been looking to model her game on some of her male counterparts at the club.

Tavernier and Barisic Rangers evolution
Image: Docherty is hoping to follow the example of Borna Barisic and James Tavernier with goal-scoring contributions from full-back

"[Borna] Barisic and [James] Tavernier are brilliant full-backs to look at. That's the kind of player I like to be as well: An attacking full-back, putting crosses in and dangerous deliveries.

"Hopefully I can copy Tavernier on one side and chip in with a few goals soon!"

The enforced absence from playing and even training with her teammates has been "hard" on Docherty, but she praised the club for staying in touch throughout.

Rangers travel to bottom side Hearts on Sunday and come into the game on the back of a three-game winning streak, having thrashed Glasgow City 5-0 in their last fixture back in December.

GETTY - Celtic are the only team to have beaten Rangers in the SWPL 1 so far this season
Image: Celtic are the only team to have beaten Rangers in the SWPL 1 so far this season

"The result against Glasgow City was a massive result for us. Glasgow City have been the top team in the women's game for a long period of time.

"It's just about taking things one game at a time. A season isn't won or lost in one game.

"Being away from the training ground and away from teammates was obviously hard. We're individual athletes and we're playing professional football so it was just important to keep our fitness levels up and be raring to go when we were called upon.

"The club have been brilliant at keeping in contact and making sure everyone was mentally okay because first and foremost that's the most important thing."

Hear the full interview with Docherty on the Scottish Football Podcast on Thursday evening.

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