By James Black
Veteran Rangers midfielder Niko Kranjcar has admitted that everything changed for him mentally after the Gers were humiliated in the Europa League by Progres Niederkorn.
Kranjcar was just making his return to first-team football when the Gers faced the Luxembourg minnows after an ACL injury meant he missed most of last season.
After winning the first-leg at Ibrox, a defeat in the Grand Duchy left the Gers out of European competition before it even really started.
Subsequent poor results against Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Partick Thistle, Motherwell and Kilmarnock – as well as last season’s record-equalling defeat to the Bhoys- saw the Gers part company with manager Pedro Caixinha in October.
Kranjcar admitted that, going into the games with Progres, he was in a good place mentally before that was shattered in picturesque Luxembourg.
“[When you are injured] you miss the ball, you miss the lads, you miss playing out there, it wasn’t a great period for me,” Krancjar said, as quoted by the Evening Times.
“The Niederkorn game, the first one at home I was feeling really good and then after that you get kicked out of Europe and everything changes in your psychology. After that, I got a small niggle after the Marseille game, which then took me two weeks to recover from, and since then it has been an up and down season.
“Realistically, it’s normal at my age and after the surgery I had, but it’s frustrating as well.
“It’s part of the journey I guess.”
The former QPR and Portsmouth midfielder has made seven appearances so far this season after a string of niggling injury woes.
Rangers fans have never seen close to the best of the Croatian after arriving in Scotland unfit after a spell with New York Cosmos in America’s then-second division NASL.
Kranjcar’s Ibrox contract comes to an end in the summer and it’s unlikely the Gers will offer extended terms to the 33-year-old after an injury-hit spell in Glasgow.
In other Rangers news, a Premier League club has joined the Light Blues in pursuing one of their top targets.