In Rangers’ 3-1 win against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park today, Nikola Katic showed the change in mentality at the club.
The Croatian defender, signed from Slaven Belupo in the summer, caught a head knock in the second half after colliding with a Killie player.
The incident busted Katic open. It would’ve therefore been easy for him to turn around and refuse to play any more. However, when his side truly needed him, the Croat stayed on and put in a commanding final half hour or so.
What makes this so important that it needs its own spotlight? Simply because it all comes down to the mentality at the club.
Rangers have struggled for born winners in recent years. Fans have seen too many soft individuals come through the door at Ibrox. Too many individuals not willing to play through the pain barrier for the club.
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Katic showed today at Rugby Park that Steven Gerrard has gone a long way to stamping that out.
There was no thought of stumbling up the tunnel for a closer medical examination. In Katic’s eyes there was a game to win. He refused to go anywhere until his team won it.
These are the kind of characters Rangers supporters have strongly lacked in recent campaigns. It’s the kind of characters they need to mount a title-challenge. It’s also the kind of characters this club has been built on in the past.
Katic symbolised everything fans want in a Ranger today. Not only did he recover and play a part in the final stages – he was outstanding in his performance. The centre-back didn’t give Kilmarnock another sight of goal after the incident.
It could be a symbol that things aren’t just changing at Rangers physically, but also mentally. Players at the club may finally be willing to put their heart and soul on the line for the jersey.
Katic was a small sign of what Gerrard is trying to do in Glasgow. As small and trivial as it might seem, it’s a massive boost for the club if they have this kind of mentality being drilled into them.