Steven Gerrard admits Nikola Katic’s impressive form has prevented him squeezing £3million summer signing Filip Helander into his Rangers line-up.
The Ibrox boss made Sweden international Helander his most expensive recruit so far when he lured him to Govan from Bologna.
But the 6ft 4in centre-back has yet to make his debut for Gers a month on from sealing his move from Italy.
Instead, Gerrard has chosen Katic to partner Connor Goldson and the Light Blues boss believes the young Croat is starting to blossom following his shaky first year in Scotland.
Gerrard said: “Niko has come back in such a positive frame of mind after a strong tournament with Croatia’s Under-21s in the summer and has taken that form into the new season.
“That is probably why I haven’t been able to introduce Filip Helander at the moment.
“I say to the players to do all you can to keep the shirt and if you play well more often than not you will.
“Niko is a very mentally strong boy. He won’t shy away from a mistake. That’s important if you want to develop and grow.
“He’s an absolute dream to work with, he’s so professional and robust. He’d run through a wall for you. I predict he’ll get better and better and for sure he has the mentality to be a Rangers player.”