As many Rangers fans are now aware, there are rumours, strong rumours of a bust-up between Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic.
This seems to have come from absolutely nowhere, as only six days ago Katic was regaling about the virtues of his partner and how the Englishman had helped him adjust to life in Britain and with the subtleties of defence.
Yet here we are only four or five days after hearing the two had had some almighty fall out, and after it began only as a claim without any apparent merit, Katic’s shock absence from Thursday night’s entire squad never mind bench after becoming a complete mainstay of the first team this season really did lend the story a hell of a lot of merit.
Manager Steven Gerrard played the Croat’s absence down as ‘just tactical’ and of course Filip Helander did extremely well in his place, but given Connor Goldson’s lack of favour among fans and his fairly modest displays this season, we’re not 100% convinced on this.
Some fans defended Katic’s absence from Thursday’s squad as purely ‘rotational’ and stated factually he’d be back in yesterday – and once again the Croat was exiled from the entire squad.
So, just what has happened between the two to see Katic completely excluded from the group?
There is word the spat has spilled over into the rest of the players, and created a bit of an atmosphere, with others not wanting to take sides – and of course it probably goes without saying, right or wrong, Connor Goldson is a 100% guaranteed pick if fit.
So if there’s a fallout between the two, Gerrard will side with Goldson – whether that’s fair or not is not something we’ll judge in this piece.
For his part Goldson got a big goal yesterday, but it was the pre-match lineup announcement that had the mass unison of ‘free Katic’ kicking in from the bulk of supporters – with ex-Oldham man George Edmundson getting that spot on the bench.
Some made claim that Katic is simply being rested after his summer work for Croatia – but this is hard to fathom that a 22-year old is suddenly exhausted after effectively getting into the form of his life.
And replacement Filip Helander did not quite have the bright match at McDiarmid that he did on Thursday – mostly competent but looking a little bit uncomfortable and nearly ‘assisting’ Michael O’Halloran for the opener.
Either way, Katic’s absence points to something clearly having happened behind the scenes. It’s just too sudden, too left-field and too implausible to buy anything else.