Rangers loanee Niko Katic is now finally getting what he needs out of his loan spell at Hajduk Split after starring in a friendly win during the international break earlier this month.
Katic returned to his native Croatia in August to join Hajduk on a season-long loan.
After a full season on the sidelines, he needed to leave Ibrox in order to play regularly and get back to the level he was at before his serious knee injury.
Initially, he was struggling to get into the Hajduk team, though.
The 25-year-old came off the bench in two league matches and was an unused sub in another, only starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a Croatian national cup tie.
However, during the international break, he scored and helped to keep a clean sheet in a 6-0 friendly win over HNK Zadar and it seems his performance in that game was enough to convince head coach Jens Gustafsson that he was ready for a run in the side.
The video of Nikola Katic’s first goal for Hajduk in a friendly against Zadar. It was a header of Glasgow Rangers player on loan to Hajduk. https://t.co/J4o0ImMIa6
— CroatianFootballNews (@CroatianNews) October 9, 2021
Since the international break, Katic has played the full 90 minutes in consecutive league matches – helping to keep another clean sheet in the second match against HNK Gorica – and he received a bonus 70-minute runout in a 5-1 cup hammering of Belisce on Tuesday night.
That’s 250 minutes of action in the space of ten days, which constitutes real progress.
Rangers have been short of options in defence at times this season and with Leon Balogun likely to head to the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria in early 2022, there’s an outside chance that Katic could be recalled to Ibrox if he performs well for Hajduk over the coming weeks and months.
In other news, a player Rangers sold in August is now really struggling in England.