With the Rangers defence stretched, Ibrox supporters aplenty have been calling on the club to consider recalling Croatian centre-back Nikola Katic.

The 25-year-old defender has always been a popular figure amongst supporters and fans have been discussing a potential recall from his loan stint with Hajduk Split back in the Balkans.

Nikola Katic remains a hugely popular player at Ibrox but he is still working his way back from injury. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Much of this concerns a stretched Ibrox squad which is under pressure due to an injury to key first team centre-back Filip Helander.

Rangers continue to concede the first goal – the club have done so in each of the last six matches – with criticism aplenty being levelled at both Leon Balogun and Connor Goldson.

When it comes to Nigerian international Leon, much of the criticism concerns the fact that Rangers are being forced to overuse the defender due to a lack of options.

Connor Goldson – this week’s villain after ill-judged post-match comments following the defeat to Hibs – has also looked a shadow of the commanding presence which drove us to 55.

Jack Simpson has been woefully disappointing too and hasn’t stood up to be counted in the squad as things stand, meaning fans are yearning for the return of the ever-popular Nikola Katic.

But as the big centre-back works his way back from a cruciate ligament injury which ruled him out of last season, minutes are essential, and any recall represents a major risk.

Not only that, but Katic’s latest performance highlights just how rusty the defender is and how pinning our defensive hopes on the Croatian is both unfair and unwise.

Rangers loanee Nikola Katic hooked after Hajduk Split shocker

Hajduk Split are performing admirably in the HNL.1 but even in victory Katic’s defensive deficiencies were highlighted by major mistakes.

Hajduk earned an impressive 3-2 away win against Rijeka but Katic lost his man for Rijeka’s equaliser at 1-1 and gave away a penalty to allow them to go in front.

Almost immediately the defender was hooked and his Hajduk Split teammates would bail him out with a heroic late rally to win the game eight minutes into injury time.

Appearing in 50% of Hajduk Split’s league fixtures this season, Katic is getting back to where he needs to be.

But if his performance against Rijeka proves anything, it’s that Katic is still on the road to recovery and any talk of a recall right back into the Rangers XI is both dangerous and premature.

Whilst talk of a return for Katic after a lengthy lay-off may appear reckless, could a return for another international loanee present greater opportunities?

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