With tomorrow’s Old Firm clash looming heavily on the horizon, Rangers’ defence of Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic will be firmly tested, and we expect our two men in the middle to live up to the part.
Katic, especially, has been scintillating this season, the 22-year old inspiring at the back and snatching the chance Steven Gerrard gave him at the start of the split last season – but there’s something this highlights significantly and which gives a real glimpse at why there’s been a change in philosophy over this summer’s window.
We all remember Joe Worrall. Now look at how consistently impressive and outstanding Katic has been – the difference, night and day, between the performances from these two show just what a mistake bringing the Forest kid north was, and just how much better the Croat actually is.
Or does it?
Did Steven Gerrard play an absolute blinder here, giving Katic a taste of the action, dropping him, and making him look on for the rest of the season in order to focus and develop him?
It’s one of the two – either Gerrard made a huge error with the Worrall Katic situation, or he played it better than it could even have been planned by the man himself.
Because Katic’s displays are gigantic now, and he looks every inch the most impressive centre-back in the SPL – by some distance, we have to say.
When we think back to Worrall’s average displays, to his occasionally impressive stuff against the bigger opposition then garbage against pretty much everyone else, we really appreciate more what we have now.
We have a giant Croat who can do everything a contemporary defender needs to, and then some, against all standard of opposition.
There is borderline no better sight in football to a Rangers fan than Nikola Katic crushing strikers around him, rising like a beacon and smashing his head into the ball, clearing it over 30 yards away.
It’s the power, energy and aggression we need back there, and Joe Worrall had none of that.
We couldn’t tell you if this was all an accident, or if Stevie planned it inch-by-inch, but the manager did say he was going to handle Katic slightly differently to the rest of the squad.
We were puzzled by this, but it may just be that decision to sign and play an inferior player in his position (with loans, there’s clauses, so Worrall had to play) gave Katic the carrot he needed to be the best he could be.
And then some.