By Nick Ware

13th Feb, 2021 | 11:47am

Borna Barisic says Nikola Katic will come back a stronger player

Borna Barisic has backed Nikola Katic to return better than ever as the Rangers ace continues his rehabilitationion from a long-term injury.

Katic has not played for the Gers since March 8 2020 after suffering a knee injury in pre-season and Steven Gerrard recently revealed that the 24-year-old would not feature during the current campaign.

It was a big blow to lose him so early on but the Light Blues have coped admirably in his absence and have conceded just eight times in 28 Premiership games this season, a staggering statistic that has helped send the Gers 18 points clear at the top and unbeaten.

As reported on the Daily Record website Katic confirmed he was helping his compatriot through the process of returning, saying: “Yes, of course, it is important for him. It is my responsibility.

“But I have tried to help him as much as I can. He’s in a good condition, he’s working very hard and I know he has sacrificed a lot because he wants to come back stronger.

“He’s a very strong character. I know everything that he is doing, not only inside the training ground but outside too.

“Believe me, he is doing everything possible to come back stronger and faster. He has missed a lot of football and I know he is giving everything to get back.”

Countdown is on in CB battle

With the deadline-day arrival of Jack Simpson from Bournemouth competition is really heating up in the centre-back stakes.

He joins Connor Goldson, Filip Helander and Leon Balogun in the defensive ranks with George Edmunson also due to return to the club in the summer after his loan spell with Derby County.

That would mean at least six players vying for two positions and despite Gerrard requiring strength in depth this would seem excessive.

Therefore one or two are likely to move on and Edmundson, Helander and Katic look like those most at risk, given Goldon’s ever-present nature in the Rangers XI this season and recent Balogun comments by Gerrard.

Katic is only 24 and this could play in his favour over 27-year-old Helander but first he must battle back from an awful injury and Gerrard will want to see how he copes with the rigours of first-team football again after such a lengthy absence, before he makes his key decision.

In other Rangers news, Kris Boyd criticises inconsistent disciplinary procedures after latest Gers controversy.