If one man will be ‘frustrated’ by Rangers’ display v Livi it’ll be Croat Niko Katic.
Not as a team player, you understand – the Croat wants Rangers to win always and will put himself through a brick wall for his team.
But that’s kind of the point – once again Niko Katic, in the form of his life, has been dumped in favour of a defender who simply isn’t delivering at that similar quality and was sub-par again today.
Last season Joe Worrall, this one Filip Helander.
We expect a Swedish international of Helander’s price tag to improve, certainly, but it must be utterly galling for Katic, just when he hits remarkable form, that he finds himself benched again.
Of course, equally he has to ‘endorse’ this – he recently signed a five-year deal committing, frankly, his career to this club – he evidently knows the plan for him and he’s happy with it.
But just on a football level, of what we’re seeing on the pitch, Helander is a downgrade at present on every level compared with Katic.
Poorer on the ball, weaker, slower, less convincing in the air, and not really much of a tackler. His performance in Porto aside, he’s not really been up to the task, while Katic clearly is.
Of course, this is Stevie’s call, and a big one, and given just how well things are going we have to back the manager on it.
He’s showing his judgement is improving and things are working. We’re top of the table for chief’s sake.
We just wonder how Katic feels on the sidelines when we think he could be doing a better job than Helander is at the moment.
This isn’t like Barisic, where we simply didn’t have a better option than him on the bench hence persisting with him – no, Stevie rotated aggressively between he, Halliday and Flanagan trying to get the most out of the Croat. Eventually it’s worked, but there wasn’t a better player to call on. Unlike here.
This isn’t a criticism of Gerrard, just a wonder – just why is it Katic doesn’t play more. He’s by a distance our best defender. Yet he’s not in the XI these days.
But, at least we’re winning, so the observation is only that. A rhetorical one.