NIKO KRANJCAR says he owes it to Rangers and its fans to come back fitter than ever before as he targets a summer return from his ACL injury.
The Croatian admits he has some fears that he may not return as the same player but it adopting a positive outlook to the longest lay-off of his career.
Kranjcar is targeting a return to full training at the start of May and wants to focus on giving his all for the Gers next season rather than rushing back before the Premiership run-in ends.
The 32-year-old told RangersTV: “I have another year left on my contract and I have said it all along, I am delighted to be here and delighted to be part of a big club.
“I owe it first of all to myself and then to the football club and the fans to give it my best shot of being as fit as I can be.
“Somewhere in your head you’re scared you don’t come back as good but honestly I am working really hard to get back.
“I think the most important thing is to give it everything you’ve got so you can look at yourself in the mirror and say you did absolutely everything to get it right, to come back and if it works it works and if it doesn’t then that is life.
“I don’t think I can play this season, I think it is too soon and I think it would be too risky. We will assess things come May but that is not the plan, it never was the plan.
“I have a regular six month check-up with the surgeon at the beginning of May and I’ll talk with him about where I am at and what I am doing.
“The goal since the surgery was to get fit, go through the pre-season and then be more than ready for next season.”
While Pedro Caixinha was a surprise choice for many as the new Light Blues boss Kranjcar was aware of the Portuguese coach’s work because his father managed in the same league as Caixinha in Qatar.
Zlatko Kranjcar was in charge of Al Ahli from 2015-16 and with a manager in the family and a senior career spanning 15 years Kranjcar says that a change at the helm rarely unsettles him, even if he can’t show the new man what he can do right now.
He continued: “I’ve not been injured like this when a new manager has come in before, if I was injured it was probably a niggle.
“I have been through loads of managerial changes in my career; in two seasons in Croatia I had eight managers.
“It is hard because once you come back you’re playing catch-up anyway because of your injury and then the manager will already have his players who he has seen and that he has worked with.
“That is another motivation, it is another goal and sometimes when things get difficult in life or in your profession then it gets the best out of you – hopefully that will happen to me.
“I have obviously met the new manager and he was coaching in Qatar where my father was so he knows my Dad from there.
“He asked me how I was and how the injury was getting along but nothing more than that.”