Nikola Katic’s return to action could come quicker than we all think after the latest injury news.
Both Connor Goldson and Gareth McAuley went off against Hibs carrying knocks. Despite the fact that Goldson finished the game, he was clearly in some discomfort at full-time. McAuley meanwhile, came off in the second half and looked groggy.
Steven Gerrard claimed that several of his stars have a few “bumps and bruises” to contend with. Two of those stars are last night’s centre-back pairing.
With Hibernian coming up once again on Boxing Day before a huge Old Firm clash with Celtic, Gerrard needs to make sure his best players remain fit.
That should mean that either one or both of McAuley and Goldson rest up against St Johnstone. Tommy Wright is sure to have his men set up for a bruising encounter. For players carrying slight knocks, that’s not the kind of match you’re wanting to compete in.
Therefore, Katic may very well be given an unexpected but deserved return to the sde on Sunday.
Do both need to be injured for Katic to play?
Of course, if only one of the centre-backs misses out, it’s more likely that Gerrard chooses Joe Worrall. The Rangers manager spoke earlier this week about how good the Englishman has been, despite much fan anger towards his displays.
In order for Katic to be given that opportunity, he ideally needs both Goldson and McAuley to sit out. But a chance for him would certainly be long overdue.
He most recently featured in a 2-1 reserve loss against Hearts at the Oriam. That’s despite the fact he and Goldson formed the club’s best partnership in years at the start of the season.
Gerrard did state that he was simply saving Katic earlier on this week, and that there was always going to be a point where he needed rest. In all seriousness, however, it never looked like Katic ever truly needed one.
Hopefully he gets his deserved chance this Sunday. If Goldson even has a sniff of being fit, however, Gerrard is likely to play him alongside Worrall.
What would be your preferred partnership if all four were fit?