Nikola Katic: I have got myself to blame if I'm dropped again

Nikola Katic admits he will only have himself to blame if Steven Gerrard decides to drop him again from his Rangers line-up.The 21-year-old centre-back had been an ever-present fixture in the Gers starting XI before being dropped for their recent Europa League trip to Villarreal.
Rangers' Nikola Katic celebrates his goal against Ayr. Pic: SNSRangers' Nikola Katic celebrates his goal against Ayr. Pic: SNS
Rangers' Nikola Katic celebrates his goal against Ayr. Pic: SNS

Gerrard opted to bring Joe Worrall in for his Light Blues debut against the Spaniards after spotting signs of tiredness in the Croatian Under-21 defender following a spell away on international duty.

But Katic - who returned to the starting line-up for this week’s clashes with St Johnstone and Ayr - is not the type to take the huff.

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He knows his boss only had his best interests at heart when he made the surprise call of leaving him on the bench for the El Madrigal showdown, which saw Gers claim a surprise 2-2 draw.

And following the arrivals of Nottingham Forest loanee Worrall and veteran Northern Ireland stopper Gareth McAuley, Katic is well aware he will have to keep his standards high if he wants to retain his slot alongside Connor Goldson at the heart of Gerrard’s back four.

Asked if he was disappointed to miss out on taking on the LaLiga big guns earlier this month, Katic said: “No I’ve played a lot of games. It was the manager’s decision. I know he wants the best for me.

“He gave me a big opportunity to play here and I’m really grateful for that.

“I’ve played 16 games since I came to Glasgow so it’s a reward for me to have been given a rest.

“I say again I’m really grateful to the manager for giving me the opportunity to play with really good team-mates at such a big club.

“There is big competition in every position in the team. If I’m not playing in future, it’s only my fault because we have a lot of players in each position so you need to work hard in every training session and every game if you want to be in the first 11.”

Katic has impressed the Light Blues faithful with the ease in which has fitted into Gerrard’s new-look back-line.

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It was expected the £2million signing from Slaven Belupo might take time to adjust to physical nature of the Ladbrokes Premiership but so far he has barely put a foot wrong.

He will face another robust test of his abilities when Gers head to Livingston on Sunday but Katic is confident his side can continue their four-game unbeaten run at Tony Macaroni Arena.

He said: “I think every game in Scotland is the same. There is a really strong style of football with the long balls and some strong tackles.

“But we will prepare for that and we are looking for our style to take control.

“We know our advantages and their disadvantages so we will try to keep a good shape and win three points at Livingston.”

Meanwhile, Rangers have been given approval from the Takeover Panel to proceed with a share issue.

The club’s shareholders backed plans for the £12million share issue at a general meeting last month.

Now Rangers have confirmed the issue will go ahead after talks with the Takeover Panel, who remain in dispute with Ibrox chairman Dave King over his 2015 takeover of the club.

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The statement on the club’s official website this afternoon read: “RIFC is pleased to advise that it has now proceeded with the share issue approved by members at the General Meeting on 31 August 2018.

“RIFC discussed the placing with the Takeover Panel before completing the issue and can confirm that the Panel did not at the time of the placing regard any of the ‘new’ placees as acting in concert with those previously deemed concert parties by the Panel.”