By Azeem Siddiqui

5th Jul, 2022 | 10:45am

Valdas Dambrauskas backs Niko Katic for Rangers success

Hajduk Split boss Valdas Dambrauskas believes that Niko Katic is totally set to become one of the best players for Rangers going into next season.

The 25-year-old spent the 2021-22 season on loan in Croatia under Dambrauskas.

As he returns to the Ibrox stadium, the 45-year-old believes that Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is getting a mature player on his return.

“At Split, we try to play a style which means we dominate the ball and I really believe he has improved on that,” he said while talking to Record Sport.

“The strongest parts to Niko’s game are his physicality, his heading, and defending in the box.

“Niko is very good when you have to defend deep because he has such a big presence. He loves to fight against strong, powerful opponents.

“But to play with a high line and to pass the ball out from the back that’s maybe not the strongest part.

“However, he was improving and he was working like hell to get stronger in those areas. Before training, after training he would stay to work on passing the ball, to create angles to receive it.

“I really believe if you do that you must improve. Your confidence comes from preparation and I was so glad to have him.

“In my opinion, he’s going back more mature, stronger, better. Now it’s down to him to prove to Rangers he is ready to fight for his place.”

Healthy Addition

Rangers management couldn’t have dreamed of a better addition to their squad without spending a single penny than Katic.

Even though the 25-year-old was not that bad at Rangers before his loan move, he is now an improved player with a lot more experience under his belt.

Even though the Rangers are a bigger club than Hajduk Split, it should not change his ambitions and mentality going into next season.

In the 2021-22 season, Katic played 26 games across all competitions and accumulated seven yellow cards [Transfermarkt].

Even though he has that rash challenge in him but he is never afraid of competition and is up to face the big teams whenever his manager trusts him.

This is something that Van Bronckhorst would like, especially considering the fact that he had to literally play makeshift defenders in the Europa League final.

Having Katic at his disposal would make it easy for him to make selections in midfield and there won’t be a need to play players out of position.

In other Rangers news, the club have agreed to pay a six-figure fee to Millwall for Zak Lovelace.