It may have been a case of ‘lost in translation’ but Rangers star Niko Katic has thrown the defender gauntlet down to rivals George Edmundson and Filip Helander by challenging them to displace him.
The 22-year old Croat, growing magnificently in stature at present with increasingly assured performances, has grabbed his chance back in the first team and is determined to keep the shirt, and play to a level good enough to affirm his place.
But he is no shrinking violet and, when questioned on his position in the squad, threw his glove down to Edmundson and Helander in determination.
“If you want to keep your shirt you have to show your quality and help the team. We have four quality defenders. If you want to play you have to fight for the shirt and I respect all of my team mates but I have my own way, to fight for me and my family, so I will try to keep my shirt like the other guys as well so we will see who has the better season.”
Almost passive aggressive here from the big Croat, clearly stating he has the shirt for now and it is up to the others to prove they’re deserving of his place ahead of him.
It’s fighting talk, and maybe not the absolute best way of putting it (after all, English isn’t his native tongue) but equally we’d rather our players feel self-confident enough to hold onto their place but while actually performing to levels which back that cockiness up.
And Katic is. This is a lad who believes in himself, who always did, and whose displays are reflective of that.
And he’s right – we will just see who has the best season. From his point of view he’ll hope it’s him.