'Ready' Rangers defender Niko Katic desperate for return ahead of SPFL title defence and Champions League qualifiers
The Croatian defender’s knee injury in pre-season training forced him out of action for a year and he is eager to make up for lost time and be ready to return when called.
Rangers kick-off their SPFL Premiership defence by unveiling the league flag at Ibrox on July 31 ahead of Champions League third qualifying stage games the following week.
With such an intensive schedule Katic is hoping to get back and says “I’m ready to go with the team again”.
Social media posts updating the defender’s rehabilitation from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament showed promise and now Katic aims to impress Steven Gerrard now the club has returned for pre-season training.
Ahead of the club’s first pre-season match at Partick Thistle on Monday, Katic said: “I’m desperate, honestly. I lost so much with my injury, I am desperate to play and so excited.
“I’m giving 24 hours a day to be as ready to help the team and prove to the manager and fans how ready I am.
“It’s been such a long time out of the team and struggling with a tough injury but I am happy that’s behind me and I’m ready to go with the team again.”
Speaking to Rangers TV he added: “The club was great. I’ll always be grateful for that support from the staff, the medical staff and my team-mates.
“Everyone was good with me, they knew I was facing tough times. The club always found a way to help me, get me positive and connect me with my family.”
The pain and frustrations of his knee injury were compounded by bittersweet feelings of seeing his team-mates celebrate the title after three years at the club – but without his own input on the pitch.
“On the one side it was really difficult and painful to not be part of it but from the other I was truly happy for the team,” he added.
“I’ve been here for three years with them and I know how much effort they put in every day and how hard they worked to be there. I was so happy with them when they achieved it.”