Now that we’re deep into the summer transfer window, and some changes have been made to defence, we wonder what the future holds for forgotten man Nikola Katić.
A popular guy among the support, his tubthumping passion and full-blooded style earned him cult status, and his ACL in preseason 2020 was not what the boy needed, losing an entire season and falling way down the pecking order.
Well, we say that, it’s worth noting that in more time at Ibrox than Filip Helander (who’s managed just 70 appearances in 3 injury-ruined years) the Croat has only played 59 times for Rangers in all competitions, which is a strange number.
See, his first season he was alongside Goldson, and doing not bad, till Joe Worrall came in on loan and stole his jersey. Steven Gerrard had no real reason for dropping Katić and the Englishman wasn’t a particularly popular replacement.
The following season Katić got the jersey back, and was playing the form of his life, which SG acknowledged and admitted it was why new signing Helander wasn’t getting starts. He then dropped Katić a few matches later anyway.
And then, hoping to finally cement his place in the team pre-55 Katić found himself ACLI’d and out for the season.
And now he’s home, having been in Croatia with Split on loan and having done pretty well, but the homeland club opted against buying him for the purchase clause of £3M.
So what now for him?
Gio doesn’t know him, and that isn’t a good sign. Of course he ‘knows’ him, but Katić is so far outside the Rangers under GVB picture that we hold little hope the big Croat will now break through.
With Bassey, Goldson, Souttar and Helander ahead of him, Katić has a lot of work to even be deputy to these defenders, never mind a starter.
He’s just way behind.
Now the aspect of unfairness here is just how good he was in 2019 before being dropped inexplicably for the Swede. Our best guess is Katić wasn’t a Gerrard signing, and the manager just didn’t like him.
Indeed, he alluded to his faults, saying the huge defender lacked patience and needed to learn to play the defensive game, wanting instead to ‘smash’ everything.
And in fact, Katić himself let this slip to be true, when he chatted on RTV about his injury over 18 months ago.
That for him he just wanted to smash everything in sight. This hinted strongly that he hadn’t learned an awful lot of the subtle arts of his craft and was just too red mist.
This is no use for Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
Of course, that was a long time ago, and Katić may have grown up.
But even then, his Rangers career may have passed him by anyway, as time waits for no man at Ibrox.