Rangers fans have responded on social media after Nikola Katic returned to action in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 24-year-old defender has been a fan favourite at Ibrox pretty much ever since he arrived from Slaven Belupo in the summer of 2018.

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Katic scoring a brilliant Old Firm winner in December 2019. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, he missed the entirety of last season after picking up a serious injury in pre-season.

Since then, the Croatian has wowed supporters with his rehab efforts and after several weeks of training without playing, he was finally given a runout on Saturday evening.

Much to the delight of many Bears, Katic was introduced for Jack Simpson at the interval and played out the second 45 minutes without any injury problems.

He looked a little nervous and rusty early on but grew into his comeback and did well firstly alongside Leon Balogun and then alongside the club’s best centre-back, Connor Goldson.

Rangers defender Nikola Katic returned to action against Brighton. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

After the game, Steven Gerrard said [RangersTV]: “It’s a special day for Niko, he has worked extremely hard over the last year.”

“It’s still very early, people can’t expect to see him back regularly just yet, we need to work him in. We need to be patient. He thinks he is ready now but we have to respect the injury.

“The 45 minutes will do him the world of good so I am pleased for him.”

Patience may be required but fans are buzzing that he’s back available and once again praised his physique.

Here’s a selection of reactions from Twitter:

Katic will be hoping for another runout against Real Madrid on Sunday and for fans without a ticket, a superb RangersTV lineup has been confirmed for the game.

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