LAST season, Josh Doig established himself as Hibernian’s first-choice left-back - impressing with the quality and consistency of his performances.

He was chosen as Young Player of the Year by the Scottish Football Writers Association, and reportedly attracted the attention of several English Premier League clubs.

At 19-years-old, Doig is seen as one of the finest prospects in Scotland.

Indeed, were it not for the sheer quantity of high-level left-backs available to Steve Clarke, the Hibs youngster may already have been involved in the senior national team. He is a player that will no doubt be on Rangers’ radar - but could he do a job for Steven Gerrard’s side?

What makes a good full-back…for Rangers?

Rangers use extreme versions of the ‘modern’ full-back - essentially a winger when the team is attacking.

James Tavernier and Borna Barisic are expected to provide width, quality deliveries and forward runs to hit the box or the byline.

This allows Gerrard to play without wingers. Instead choosing a narrow front three full of interchanges, combinations and variety that can out-number and confuse defences.

Obviously, Rangers still need their full-backs to be strong defensively - arguably asking more of them than a lot of other tactical set-ups would.

There are no wingers tracking back to help out Tavernier and Barisic. The outer midfielders (Glen Kamara on the left) will shift over to support - but Rangers’ full-backs can be isolated on quick transitions and switches of play. They need to be solid positionally and as one-v-one defenders.

Josh Doig: Getting forward

Full-backs can attack the opponent in two ways: on the ball through their dribbling, or off of the ball through their running.

Scotland’s current top left-backs offer good examples. Andrew Robertson is an expert at attacking space, which he does so well for Liverpool to hit good crossing positions or take defenders away and make room for Sadio Mane. Tierney is a more effective dribbler, however, as he can beat a man with a quick turn or a bit of skill.

Doig falls more into the Robertson category. When up against a defender out wide he lacks the trickery, deception or change of pace to go past his man.

It is worth noting that he is comfortable dribbling on his right foot when necessary, which can help him change direction under pressure and can make up for instances of poor control.

READ MORE: Joe Rothwell scouted: Should Rangers sign 'mesmerising' dribbler who lacks 'conviction'?

Nonetheless, his main attributes are as a ‘runner’. Doig is an excellent athlete with good speed, strength and stamina - he always offers an outlet down the flank. Like Robertson, he attacks space – overlapping to create 2v1s with the winger, or underlapping to create avenues inside.

Here he joins the attack late and attacks the space Rangers have left in their right-back area. Connor Goldson has been drawn out of position and Nathan Patterson is filling in.

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The overlapping run takes him into a good crossing position. His first touch means his angle isn’t as good as it could have been.

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Passing and deliveries

As he isn’t a 1v1 specialist, Doig likes to work in combination with teammates to progress down the flank. He will play give-and-goes with a player inside of him. ‘Giving’ the ball to the teammate and ‘going’ to run onto the return ball.

His passing isn’t particularly creative or incisive – he generally keeps it simple – but one advantage he holds over most left-backs is that comfort on his weaker side. He is able to come in and deliver a pass into the striker’s feet with his right foot if necessary.

Doig’s crossing is accurate and he generally puts the ball into good areas. One specific aspect to improve upon would be the pace of his ball in from wide. Too often, they are floated and aren’t easy for forwards to attack. They need to generate their own power on the header.

However, one major positive is that Doig doesn’t put the ball in mindlessly. Quite often he will have a look at where the runners are and try to pick them out with a low cross or a cut-back from the byline.

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He is efficient in finding his teammates and setting up shooting opportunities along the ground. A lot of other full-backs would try to hit the corridor between defenders and goalkeeper here. Doig doesn’t.

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By playing a low ball into the feet of a teammate, he sets up an opportunity to combine or shoot inside the penalty box.

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Last but not least: Doig as a defender

Doig’s speed means he is difficult to beat in a foot race, while his strength allows him to compete shoulder-to-shoulder and obstruct the attacker, or slow their momentum.

When faced up 1v1 he closes the space well. Getting out fast and reducing the distance - so he can intercept the ball on a bad touch.

He doesn’t dive in either - jockeying and waiting for the right time to put his foot in. Again though, at 19 he has areas to work on – one of which is that sometimes he can be caught square and on his heels.

Here he faces Ianis Hagi in a game against Rangers last season. He closes the distance well and puts the onus on the attacker to make something happen.

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But when Hagi dribbles at him, Doig loses his ‘side-on’ position and is no longer on the balls of his feet. He’s no longer in control of the situation.

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A step-over and a burst of pace, and Hagi is around him. Paul Hanlon has to leave his position to cover, exemplifying why 1v1 defending is so important for full-backs to protect their centre-backs.

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Getting body position wrong in these 1v1 defensive situations means that Doig is occasionally more susceptible to feints, or sudden changes of pace or direction. He isn’t able to react quickly enough to go with the attacker.

Overall, though, Doig doesn’t have too many obvious defensive weaknesses.

He is aware to check his shoulder and cover runs behind him and works hard to recover his position. Furthermore, he is 6ft 2ins tall and committed when attacking the ball in the air. He can help his team out at defensive set piece situations in a way many full-backs can’t.


Doig has many of the qualities expected of modern full-backs - including good speed to exploit space down the flank and intentional crossing. He’s also two-footed, relatively strong in the air, and difficult to beat in a foot race.

There are areas the player has to improve upon, however. He could put more pace on his crosses, and defensively he needs to work on his body position in 1v1s.

Focusing on these areas, his delivery from wide will become more threatening, and he will give more protection to his centre-backs.

With Barisic linked to a number of clubs in recent months and about to turn 29, Rangers should be looking for his successor at left-back. Doig is an excellent prospect - though at 19 he is perhaps one to keep an eye on more for the long-term.