THE simple notion of signing for Steven Gerrard at Rangers had Nikola Katić scrambling to get to Scotland as quickly as he could to put pen to paper.
The towering Croatian defender today signed a four year deal to become the fifth signing of the Gerrard era at Ibrox ahead of the players returning to training later this week.
One of the first duties he performed after signing his contract was to chat exclusively to RangersTV, and he couldn’t hide his delight at joining the Light Blues.
Speaking today in Hummel training wear, he explained: “It is a big pleasure to be here as this is one big club one of the biggest in Europe and in the world. It is good to be here and this is a big step for me.
“When they told me Steven Gerrard wanted to take me, I told my agent I’d get my shoes on and run to Scotland!
“He is a legend of football all over the world and I am glad to be here with him.
“It’s a big club in a strong league. I can play in Europe and play in front of 50,000 fans at every home game. It’s wonderful and a really good step for me.”
The prospect of playing in front of the Rangers support is something which greatly excites Katić, as is the idea of an Old Firm derby.
He also discussed the sort of player he sees himself as, and reckons that makes him ideally suited to playing in the Scottish game.
“I am the sort of player who likes a duel,” he continued, “and in Scotland, the type of football I think is for me. There are a lot of long-balls and a lot of duels, and that is what I like.
“I’ve seen the stadium on television and I have read about the fans and the rivalry with Celtic. It is really great and I cannot wait to play here.”
Rangers fans have a strong affinity with Croatian players, having adored the likes of Dado Prso and Nikica Jelavic in their spells here, and Katić knows he has work to do to keep that going.
Aged just 21, Katić too has been capped at full-international level for Croatia, a team packed with top-talent, and he believes by moving to Ibrox, his chances of selection for that side increase.
He said: “Sure. It will help me as Croatia has so many players at good clubs – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool – and it is hard to come from the Croatian league to play in the Croatian national team.
“But Rangers is a good step to show to the national manager that I can play for the national team.
“Everyone has said they [the former players] did a good job here, and now I have a job to hold that tradition here.”
Now, Katić is desperate to get going, and added: “I want to train hard every day and help the team to get better results in every game, and to try and win the Scottish league and cup.
“Rangers needs to be in with the top European clubs, and I will try with the other players to move this club to the top of European football.”